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Toxic Culture, Essay Example

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Words: 426

Essay

Toxic culture is one in which the leaders/managers treat the workers poorly. Stanford University’s Jeffrey Pfeffer has found a positive relationship between the way a company treats its workers and its profitability (Webber, 1998). Unfortunately, I also have such an experience and I can confirm from my experience that indeed there is a positive relationship between an organization’s profitability and the way its employees are treated.

I used to work for a family owned restaurant where almost all the positions were occupied with students looking to support themselves through part time work except food preparation positions. The restaurant had a reputation for good food but this fact didn’t translate to high volume of customers. It puzzled me in the beginning but I soon found out that the service didn’t live up to the expectations of the customers. The owners would hire student employees and then push them to do work not related to their primary job responsibilities. In addition, the owners would expect everyone to show the work efficiency of two employees which is why there were fewer waiters and servers than would have been the case in similar restaurants.

The new employees would work hard in the beginning but soon they would intentionally slow down their work speed when the owners would not be watching. The owners had this assumption that the students desperately needed jobs so they would do anything asked of them. The turnover was high but the owners didn’t see this as a problem due to the number of applications they would get. But they failed to notice how the employees started hurting the business. Many employees who expected to leave would intentionally start making mistakes in the customers’ orders in their last days. In addition, they would spend more time taking orders and would often not pay attention when the customers wanted something. In addition, employees became friends with each other due to similar personal grievances so those who would find new jobs, would also provide leads to theircolleagues.

The owners were clueless till the time I left the workplace that the poor customer service was hurting the business despite good food. They always counted savings resulting from hiring fewer employees but failed to recognize the opportunity costs of doing so which were even higher. I am sure if the owners had treated their employees well, the employees would have provided better service resulting inhigher business volume. I later heard that the restaurant had closed down due to financial losses.

Reference

Webber, A. M. (1998, October 31). Danger: Toxic Company. Retrieved September 29, 2011, from http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/19/toxic.html

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