Mandating and enforcing culture

09-May-2016 15:47

And how often is it a red flag, alerting you to deeper, unaddressed problems that management is ignoring?We've all been there -- your inbox chimes, you open a chipper email from your manager announcing some "fun" activity to boost morale, and your heart sinks as you start wondering if you can develop the flu by then.Whether it's a company picnic, a team-building retreat or a training full of silly activities, officially sponsored "fun" at work strikes a lot of people as somehow deeply miserable. Scientists recently revealed some preliminary clues as to what exactly is wrong with mandatory fun at work.Of course, not all fun at work is about whitewashing unpleasant practices.Zappos, for example, has won praise for its fun-filled office culture and there doesn't appear to be any dark secrets lurking behind the happy exterior.British researchers Peter Fleming and Andrew Sturdy investigated an unnamed Australian call center which promotes itself as a fun workplace where youthful agents can be themselves, make friends and not worry about their tattoos. Amongst all the office flirtations and bring-your-surfboard-to-work days, nearly half the 33 employees who spoke at length to the two researchers felt there was a darker side to the mandatory good times and reported that the need to maintain a constantly cheerful facade added to the burden of an already difficult job.

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Others may be drawn into dependency, as they've been encouraged to draw their social world from the same well as their pay-check.

Work equals friends, romance, even identity; for the company, it's ultimately 'just business'.

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