Creating positive work environments : a case study of human resource practitioners.

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The struggle to create positive work environments is an issue that impacts both the organization and employees alike. When the work environment is toxic, the company’s bottom line suffers; turnover is high, and production is low. In addition, an unhealthy atmosphere negatively impacts employees’ performance and overall well-being. Such employee behaviors can lead to increased employee relations issues like harassment and a hostile workplace. Organizations lean on their human resource practitioners to help shape the workplace. Unfortunately, there is no defined model or template to accomplish this task. The lack of guidance on creating a positive workplace leaves organizations taking a try-and-see approach. In the meantime, organizational productivity, employee performance, and well-being continue to decline.

This descriptive multiple case study examined the techniques and methods that current human resource practitioners use to create a positive work environment. Guided by a qualitative approach, I used semi-structured questions to interview six human resource practitioners in various industries on creating positive work environments and the role of human resource practitioners in that process. As part of this research, I also performed an in-depth literature review highlighting the need for additional research on creating a positive work environment. Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory provided the foundation for the theoretical framework used in this study. He suggests that humans learn and behave by observing and interacting with their social surroundings. The focus of this study was to analyze the responses given by participants and use a constructivist worldview to develop a strategy that all organizations can use to improve their work environments and, thus, the behavior of their employees.

The implications of this study include helping organizations provide a better workplace for their employees. The findings revealed a three-step strategy that human resource practitioners can use to cultivate positive work environments. The first step is adjusting the organizational climate, the second is promoting psychological safety, and the third is fostering employee engagement. The study provides specific elements in each step that organizations must address when building positive work environments.

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