Job satisfaction assignment Haochuan Bi (The following content is merely designated to Organizational Behavior academic purposes; there are no intentions in depiction of any fictitious slander and malfeasance. ) In June, 2012, I was luckily selected as one of the interns at Hoffmann – La Roche, in the Research & Development Department at Nutley, New Jersey, in which I was assigned to the formulation group responsible for amelioration of the manufacturing processes for the pills, tablets and pellets.
Not long after I familiarized myself in the work environment, my supervisor introduced the tasks which I was going to complete during the following three months at Roche. I was told to perform series of rheological measurements of generic polymeric excipients utilized during the formulation processes. Besides that, some simulations of hot melt extrusion at small scale were also implemented prior to the rheological measurements.
Here comes the point which I was disappointed: the rheometer I was about to use was such an obsolete one that only one PhD candidate whose professor collaborates with the organization knew how to do some basic operations with the machine; what is more, the machine was already 10 years old, so I doubted it would have measurement errors during the actual experiments, which would result in series of undesirable consequences in the subsequent processes. I am a person with active and constructive disposition, so I went to my supervisor for help.
He told me that there was only one rheometer available in our group and I had to manage to get used to the situation. When I operated the rheometer, the plight came into reality: for every single substance I tested, I cannot get similar results but only the results with data randomly dispersed, which was tragic to researchers. So I resorted to my supervisor for several time for troubleshooting suggestions but ended up with futility. (Actually he did endeavor for corrections but I guess that was not his expertise. )
With the endless struggles for reasonable explanations and feasible solutions, I found myself entrapped inside a dilemma: I did not really understand why I should constantly repeat the bootless experiments on rheology and I cannot discover the correlation between small scale hot melt extrusion and rheological measurement. Shall I continue striving or dallying time away instead? Although I had been there for such a short period of time, my supervisor, along with my colleagues, impressed me to a great extent, which made me persistent without complaints.
Why was that? That was because in late June, we were announced to be shut down before next June and all the employees were going to be laid off in various future points. When I was still immersed in the astonishment and sadness, my supervisor said to me that although it seemed to be relentless, but things like this, shutting down the facility and laying off people, are normal and common in one’s life; while it is crucial and vital for people to get prepared for them.
I wasn’t surprised when I heard what he said since I have been indoctrinated thousands of times throughout my life; what really surprised me was the actual attitude he and my other colleagues possessed: they still consistently complied the orders and did what they should, as always. The incident of laying off didn’t incant curses among them. Because I was influenced by others’ positive attitude towards the plights, I decided to stick to the problem and tried harder for alternatives.
After some edification by my supervisor and enlightenments by books, I discovered an alternative that worked perfectly fine in producing legitimate experimental data, as I switched to another measuring mode on the rheometer. In the end, as I acquired reasonable data, I was able to proceed to the subsequent steps and finished the project in time. A decent epilogue was conducted and everyone involved was pleasant. From the aforementioned, several aspects pertaining to organizational behavior could be concluded:
First, from the responses to the dissatisfying workplace, I chose VOICE and LOYALTY instead of EXIT or NEGLECT. The reason for my choice was that I deemed my supervisor to be very enlightened, who would like to hear questions from me. Although sometimes things may be constrained to some extent, like my case, where only in possession of one obsolete instrument, my supervisor and I can still sit down to identify the problem encountered and search for solutions. And here is the LOYALTY.
I am loyal to my organization not because I am just a temporary employee, but the fact that people around me set themselves perfect paradigms as they persisted until the last moment on their positions. Compared to their plights of losing jobs, mine was like a piece of dust, which was negligible indeed. On the contrary, if I dallied time away when facing plight in the experiments, while others still fulfilled their duties, I would perceive myself as incompatible to the ambience and would positively amend my behavior.
This is the aspect of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE. The reason for this is because I was born in a very traditional East Asian family and the core value of my family is to be assiduous in study and work in order to be successful. What’s more, throughout the years of public education, I have been taught and trained to be industrious, thus making the competitions with peers easier and more manageable.
With the cultural and educational explanations plausible, this scenario seems to have another way of interpretation: as I worked hard inside the organization, seeking for improvements of my performance, the major reason for this was that I really wanted to please my supervisor and get positive appraisals from him, which in return made my presence inside the organization valuable. Therefore, a virtuous cycle can be formed which is conducive to boosting my performance to a further extent. It is categorized as part of the IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT.
The result is identical as the previously mentioned that I would work hard as everyone else did. In addition, other elements also contributed to my work attitude and responses to the dissatisfying workplace. As my direct contact, my supervisor was such a resourceful and skillful person that he elucidated the questions and problems in very pellucid manner, which helped me understanding the situations instantaneously. Also, instead of instilling the theories and concepts, he edified me whenever I had a question and induced the answers, while leaving the space for independent thinking.
Furthermore, as people around me are all ardent and perspicacious, I felt I had the impetus to persist even if I was stuck in the middle of the experiments. I guess I was influenced by EXPERT POWER and REFERENT POWEER. In general, I chose to be loyal, partially because my intrinsic disposition which was shaped by educational and cultural background; while largely depended on the external factors which positively guided me to do so, whereas I was experiencing a dissatisfying period in the laboratory.