Cynicism At The Workplace Essay

2067 words - 8 pages

Cynicism at the workplace comes in many different forms and seems to have increased in the last few years in light of mass layoffs, mergers, and corporate scandals (Anderson, 1996). In 1991, Mirvis and Kanter reported that 43% of American workers exhibited highly cynical attitudes toward work. The popularity of the comic strip Dilbert further indicates the prevalence of cynicism in today’s work place (Dean, Brandes, & Dharkwadkar, 1998). A Google search on ‘cynicism at the workplace’ produced 408 000 results, including a segment on NPR from May 2007 dealing with the topic of cynicism. The anchor only half-jokingly remarked that General Motors’ employees had good reason to be cynical in the face of plant closings and the loss of more than 30 000 jobs. The question arises if workplace cynicism has to inevitably follow the decline of American businesses, and if there are any factors that could potentially positively influence cynicism.
Information from opinion polls paints a mixed picture. Gallup (2007) reported that only 18% of the American people had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in big business in 2007, a steady decline from the high point of 33 % in 1977 and 30% in 1999, which would support an increase in organizational cynicism. However, Gallup also reported the overall satisfaction of workers with their workplace in 2007 was fairly high. 56% of US workers are satisfied with their job security, and 60% were completely or somewhat satisfied with their supervisors (Gallup, 2007). Likewise, the percentage of workers who were somewhat or completely dissatisfied was reported as only 6% in August 2007 as compared to 14% in August 2005 (Gallup, 2007). Does this increase in satisfaction mean that there will be a corresponding decrease in cynicism at the workplace as well?
In this paper, I will define cynicism and give an overview of the different types of cynicism and its causes, which will provide some insight on how to prevent cynicism from spreading in an organization, especially when the organization is undergoing change.
The term cynicism can be traced back to its roots in ancient Greece describing a group of people who showed contempt towards society, which focused on the pursuit of material goods (Andersson, 1996; Andersson & Bateman, 1997; Dean, Brandes, & Dharkwadkar, 1998). Nowadays, the most commonly accepted and widely quoted definition is provided by Dean, Brandes and Dharkwadkar (1998) who posit that cynicism is a negative attitude towards one’s employing organization, consisting of three elements “(1) a belief that the organization lacks integrity; (2) negative affect toward the organization; (3) tendencies to disparaging and critical behaviors (p. 345).” The cynical belief system is founded on the notion that people and the organizations they work in lack sincerity, act mostly based on self interest, and have hidden agendas. Cynical employees believe that they are exploited and not adequately...

Find Another Essay On Cynicism at the Workplace


972 words - 4 pages Sexual harassment at the workplace (SHW) is a major occupational hazard that affects women all over the globe, but is prevalent more so in India, owing to the age old conventions of the office being a man’s territory. The situation is even worse in the unorganized sector, where there is no statutory protection. It involves unwelcome verbal, visual or physical acts of a sexual nature that severely affects the working conditions for an employee

Role Of Communication At The Workplace

1065 words - 4 pages In the workplace today, we are likely to have a diverse mix of culture, age, race and gender balance. Nonverbal communication varies amongst all of these and also on the different contexts of the workplace i.e. meetings, conferences, tea breaks etc. Early morning when arriving at the office, colleagues usually wave their hands and give a smile to greet each other depending on the relation you may have with the colleague. If it is a senior

Motivation in the Workplace at SAS Institute

1254 words - 5 pages 15Motivation in the Workplace at SAS InstituteWhen it comes to motivation in the workplace, SAS Institute seems to have it masters. No one wants to come to work every day and spend time away from their families all the time on a daily basis, but something makes us do this each and every day that we go to work. Work motivation is the factor that makes behave the way we do in order to get up and go to work every day. It determines the level of

Conflict in The Workplace: A Look at Carolyn and Nick

2451 words - 10 pages assist in resolving the conflict. Conflict resolution can be a difficult task but if a practitioner implements tools like conflict models than conflict can be undoubtedly resolved. Conflict Scenario The conflict presented in this case study is between two employees that perceive tension in the workplace. The conflict started at the beginning of the shift when three employees found out that their supervisor was not going to show up. The three

The Oppression of Women at Home and in the Workplace Due to Gender Stratification

3191 words - 13 pages Christina Serrano SO303 Final Paper May 2014 Feminist Theories: The Oppression of Women at Home and in the Workplace Due to Gender Stratification “One is not born a woman, but instead one becomes a woman,” claims sociologist Simone de Beauvoir (as cited in Zaretsky). Similarly, sociologist Judith Butler argues that “gender is less a biological fact than a social fiction” (Zaretsky). Another sociologist, Berk, makes a similar claim, arguing

Multicultural Diversity in the Workplace for COMM215 at University of Phoenix

2449 words - 10 pages Multicultural Diversity in the Workplace COMM215 --------------------------------------------------------         Immigration, civil rights and a growing global economy are just a few reasons for a company to take an interest in improving its approach to cultural diversity. A multicultural workforce can affect teamwork and communications within a large company. As more and more companies become influenced by multicultural workforces

Workplace Observation at MDB Coporation MGT 331 Describe your perception of the current organizational climate of your company

662 words - 3 pages AbstractMBD Corporation has been a leading developer of computer software for over ten years. My position in a small group named "Product Release Services" manages the release cycle of all products before reaching the consumer. The workplace environment is defined by a work ethic modeled from the founding fathers(Forty hour work weeks are rarely seen...) coupled with the practices of contemporary business management.My current position in the

Defeats at the Workplace, in the Media, and Within the New Corporate Order: The Homestead Strike, a Lost Cause for American Labor

3236 words - 13 pages failure was the result of the development of technological innovations contributing to workers’ loss of control over workplace conditions, the union’s later negative association with radical Socialist and anarchist forces, and lastly, its vulnerability to the Carnegie Co.’s strategy and moves to. Hence, due to the union’s debilitating setbacks at the workplace, in the company, and in the media, the battle of supremacy in U.S. steel and iron

Promoting Thirdplaceness with an ICT Interactive Art Installation at the workplace

770 words - 4 pages context keeping the project essence, e.g., ‘Before I graduate, I want to…’, ‘One day I will…’[7]. Based on the related work, we propose to explore the potential of mobile interaction with contextualized situated public displays to reinforce socialization in the workplace, giving to the community awareness of their own personal expectations.

Promoting Thirdplaceness with an ICT Interactive Art Installation at the workplace

623 words - 3 pages , make and install the installation; and, take care of the installation by adding chalks and erasing inappropriate messages. Gradually people's responses set the tone of the installation. Following on the steps described by Chang [7], we started our translation. Chang [7] used art in a socially abandoned space to bring it back to “live”. Thinking about that, we chose the lobby of the Department of Computer Science at Federal University of São

Promoting Thirdplaceness with an ICT Interactive Art Installation at the workplace

897 words - 4 pages became a space for students, professors, employees and visitors to share laughs and playful conversations (see figure 7). In the analysis of display effectiveness, we observed that many of the passersby was attracted to the displays, turning the head at the installation area and 145 messages were sent in front of the displays. We observed that more than half of people who stopped in the place stayed for longer than a minute. About the secondary

Similar Essays

Drugs At The Workplace Essay

5356 words - 21 pages abuse at the workplace has traditionally been met by a dismissive attitude and the reflex of trying to sweep the problem under the carpet, based more on moral precepts than a concern for the health issues involved. Yet, drug and alcohol abuse is not a problem which can be isolated from the workplace. It is now coming to be much widely, although not by means universally understood that substance abuse is harmful to both organization and workers

Women At The Workplace Essay

1257 words - 5 pages woman steps into the workplace; others ignorant to the tireless hours she's spent taking care of things at home, will look down on her. More than 50% of women at the workplace between ages 35-49 claim that they've been discriminated because of their gender. ( It's too bad men don't know how much work a woman has done and is capable of. She must therefore try even harder to gain the respect of the

Napping At The Workplace Essay

1302 words - 6 pages smaller, but the number of hours in the day hasn't changed. The constant drive to push ourselves without adequate rest is only working to undermine the quality we should strive for. Armed with a plethora of scientific data proving short daytime naps offer more benefits than pitfalls, it is only logical to integrate them into the workplace lifestyle. Instead of scorning naps at work and punishing people for taking them we should look deeper at

Discrimination At The Workplace Essay

862 words - 4 pages Everyone will have a least one job in their lifetime, and knowing how to recognize discrimination, so they are able to seek the proper help when needed to is very important. Discrimination in the work place can happen to anyone, and that is why people need to know the laws that protect employees against discrimination, ways employers can prevent discrimination, and the effects of discrimination in the workplace. Three major laws that protect