‘Social Contract’ says we shouldn’t judge our own work
The Globe and Mail article A social contract that suggests we shouldn “judge our own” work is becoming more common in the workplace.
A new social contract definition has been developed by social scientists at the University of New South Wales.
The definition includes the concept of social capital, a key part of the social contract, which they say can be “generally construed to encompass a sense of shared identity, belonging, belongingness and belongingnessness, and collective value and purpose.”
In their research, the researchers looked at more than 30,000 workplace social interactions to identify how workers felt about their work and what they thought about it.
They found that those who felt more connected to their work were more likely to express a sense that they were a part of a “social contract.”
“The social contract concept can be thought of as a social contract in which you are both bound by the agreement you are making to work together and have a sense as to how you can contribute to the greater good,” said co-author Dr. Jennifer Hensley.
“So, we find it’s a bit of a double bind.
It’s really important to acknowledge that you can’t just say you’re going to have a conversation about whether you’re in a ‘social contract’ or not.
That’s something that can be difficult, and so the social contracts that we’re looking at here could help people understand where they fit in that larger social context.”‘
It’s not really about us’The researchers found that workers with higher levels of social connectedness were more willing to contribute to a wider community, including to their employer.
More than half of the respondents who said they felt most connected to work were “very connected to the business community.”
The researchers also found that people who felt connected to those who are more directly involved with their work tended to be more engaged in it, more likely than those who said their work was more “independent.”
These participants also felt more engaged with their colleagues, who were also more engaged than those in the non-connected group.
“People who feel like they have a connection to their own work, that they feel like the business side of their work is their own and that they have the power to make that happen, are more likely in this sense to feel very connected to this wider community and be involved in the broader community, which is good,” Hens.
“The connection to others in the wider community is what we want.”
It’s also important to note that this is just a theory.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo are currently studying how these two different types of connectedness could affect the relationship between work and social capital.
‘Worker self-esteem and social trust’According to Hens, it’s not just about whether a person feels like they’re a part in a larger social contract.
She also noted that this can change over time, and that the definition could change over the course of the workday.
It could be that a person might feel less connected to people who are directly involved in their work, and feel less inclined to work collaboratively with colleagues, if their self-worth is low, or if their social trust is low.
“It could also be that if you’re working in a small team, you’re more likely not to be the best person for the job,” said Hens and Dr. Nicole Leung.
These findings could have implications for the way employers can provide workplace socialization programs.
According to the researchers, these programs can help workers build up social capital that they can use to improve their work performance.
In addition, these program could help employees to “enforce the social norms of the company” by building more social trust, a more positive work environment and “ensuring that colleagues feel more engaged and comfortable in their workplace.”
With so much data on workplace sociality, it might be time for the government to consider what type of workplace social contract we should be building.
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