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Is your organisation ‘good-enough’ for your employees?

If achieving a perfect corporate culture seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Striving for a ‘good-enough’ environment might help push productivity levels says Business Psychologist, Michelle Hunter.

February 25, 2013 1:30 by

In an ideal workplace employees would feel motivated and encouraged to ‘go the extra mile’ to perform well in their job and productivity levels could be high. Perhaps however, it is unrealistic to expect organisations to strive for ideals during such competitive and turbulent times.  After all, research indicates that productivity can be increased when the culture of an organisation is at least ‘good-enough’.

In order to understand the concept of ‘good-enough’, particularly in terms of what criteria needs satisfying for an environment to be classified in this way, a short lesson on its origins – from a psychological standpoint – might serve beneficial.

So, I’ll begin: the concept of ‘good-enough’ stems from the scholarly work of Donald Winnicott, a renowned psychologist who devoted much of his life to studying mother-infant relationships.  His finding was that “good-enough” mothering as characterised by an adaptive, comforting, omnipotent and holding carer and environment affords infants the best opportunity to thrive and perform at its best, responding well to all life’s challenges.

This analogy has since been applied to the workplace.   For example, the corporate culture (environment) and its leaders (carer) can contribute to their staff experiencing all the features of a good-enough working environment if they foster and promote healthy and positive relationships between staff, teams and managers, which are associated with high productivity.

A ‘good-enough’ organisation recognises and values its people’s insight and experience. Their ideas are appreciated because they can help the workplace to do things smarter and better. That means the organisation will become more innovative and productive over time.

Seven ways to ensure your organisation/corporate culture is “good-enough”:

Recognise that people are not always rational –as humans we make mistakes.

Treat people at all levels of the organisation equally – respect and appreciated their views/opinions.

Ensure all staff are aware of the organisation’s goals and values

Empower employees to suggest how they could improve their part of the organisation

Reward staff who participate and express good ideas

Involve staff – gather their feedback on attitudes and ideas for improvement

Discover more about corporate cultural types.

Michelle Hunter is a Business Psychologist and Lecturer at Heriot-Watt University. She coordinates and delivers on the MSc programmein Business Psychology. Contact her via [email protected] or follower her on Twitter


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