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Treat us with respect
Posted By:peer On 2/25/2007

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The Japanese and Koreans have always been the most hard-working of people. Twelve-hour workdays are normal for them and they rarely complain.

It takes it toll though: employee stress is high which shows up in the very high drinking and smoking habits in East Asia. 

Yet both countries have produced economic miracles in the past decades. The big question is can they sustain it, especially as their  populations age?

Interestingly, despite the work-obsessed behaviour of Asians, burnout levels have still been significantly lower compared with their Western counterparts. Strong family ties and social networks have always  been a cushioning factor. But with the rapid disintegration of large families and other social factors, the rules of the game are
changing.

What triggers a burnout anyway? The well-known answers are the job itself and the personality of the individual. Either the job, by its nature is stressful or the individual does not have the ability to cope. But is that all?

New research by Wharton Professor Sigal Barsade adds a third dimension to the concept of burnout. Poor organisational culture, the research says, influences burnout above and beyond the effects of the job and an individuals personality.  Employee demoralisation can lead to high burnout in employees.

Key to whether burnout occurs or not is the employee perception of respect or disrespect. How a person is treated by his/her immediate superior and by the whole organisation influences the perception of respect.

The research showed that even a perception of disrespect leads to burnout. The implication: an organisational culture built on genuine respect for employees at all levels is the one that is likely to see less burnout and high productivity levels. This finding establishes respect as an important link between attrition rates and burnout.
The next question is, how do we instill genuine respect for all in a business environment?

Several small and large organisations are encouraging yoga and breathing exercise at work. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland, Paulo Coelho, famous author of fables such as The Alchemist, and Zaheer, addressed the CEOs of worlds biggest companies and impressed on them the power of story- telling on the morale of the employees.

Still, the new generation of young Asians seems to be mentally ready for high levels of stress and burnout because of their high aspirations. This is evident in the information technology and outsourcing sectors. But then, they do seem to be working in environments where they feel respected. So the new trick is respect and exploit!

http://www.7days.ae/en/2007/01/31/treat-us-with-respect.html




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