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Social behaviour

The lubrication which makes a group work well, or the grit which snarls it up. Author


Although many people work for large organizations, each with thousands of people, they spend the majority of their time in a small group of a dozen or so individuals. How people react with one another, particularly when dealing with difficulties or disagreements, can help determine how smoothly a department functions.

The social group:
Social behaviour is what gives a team or department cohesion. One obnoxious individual can have a profoundly negative effect. Managers should watch for bullying or one person disparaging or undermining a colleague. The results of unacceptable behaviour are increasingly to be found in claims for damages against employers! Do the members of a department get along well with each other, are they polite and treat each other with courtesy and perhaps socialize outside work?  Do they do favours for each other, provide cover if others are absent and talk to each other on personal matters?  However, wanting to be ‘friends’ with, or ‘bond’ with everyone is unrealistic and can be counter productive!

Behaviour is important: 
Being polite in the office is becoming more important. People who are crass, rude, impatient or thoughtless in their office can have a disproportionately adverse effect and will probably upset clients as well. To help prevent the hiring of problem people, the security guard, receptionist and personal assistant/secretary  should be asked for their impressions when people turn up for interview. Psychology testing is useful; however, its ability is usually limited to weeding out the wrong people from being hired, rather than selecting the right ones. The way ethnic minorities, older people or new starters are treated is an aspect of culture. Do existing staff resent newcomers or do they try to help them?  Social behaviour varies between countries, for example, whether you greet colleagues by a handshake, kiss, hug or bow - do the wrong thing and you may offend!  Many organizations run courses for their staff on how these customs vary between countries.

T
he effect of the workplace: A person may display different characteristics at each of their workplaces. A hospital consultant may be rude with administrative staff in the general office, domineering with colleagues in the operating theatre, quiet and deferential with patients in the consulting room , while being jocular and flippant with junior staff in the ward. >>>