Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Feedback and Volunteering in Organizations (with the Muppets)

Maybe if I type up all of these research-oriented thoughts in my head, then I'll be able to assemble them a little more clearly. On the other hand, even if it doesn't help with my research, it might ease my guilt over not blogging lately. So let's kill two birds with one stone. Unless of course you like birds, gentle reader, in which case I will be doing no bird killing today. In that case, we will be... ummm... hitting two... targets?... with one... ummm... you know what? I'm no good with metaphors. Asking me to write a good metaphor is like asking Kenny Chesney to be a decent human being. Wait, that was a decent metaphor, wasn't it? Never mind.

In modern workplaces, whether they be offices, retail stores, schools, small businesses, large firms, or non-profits, the concept of "going above and beyond" is becoming increasingly important. There's research backing that statement up, and plenty of it. Organizations expect their team members and employees to not just do what is explicitly listed on their job descriptions, but also to do other things that benefit the organization, the people who work there, and the customers they serve. Many organizations even manage to work these "things-that-are-not-in-the-job-description" into the job description itself, oddly enough. They do this by including a line at the end of the official list of duties that says something like: "Employee shall also perform other duties beneficial to the company outside those listed here, as determined by management." When I was in the corporate world, I called that "The Auschwitz Clause," because under language like that, the company could direct you to do just about anything, from killing innocent people to selling yourself into slavery to buying Kenny Chesney albums.