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Leadership Process

Leadership of the 20th century originates in a set of values, practices, and beliefs that are becoming less and less relevant to the new generation of workers and consumers (Rost & Barker, 2000; Hetzler & Speth, 2008). From a construct that was once focused on individual power and influence over others, leadership has been reconstructed as a process of interactions between interdependent individuals towards the achievement of goals (Rost & Barker, 2000). Leadership of the 21st century is informed by organizational systems theory, institutional theory, social complexity, and emergence to ground all individual activity over time within a system of interdependent elements bound by a common environment (Rost & Barker, 2000, Thoroughgood, Sawyer, Padilla, Lunsford, 2018; Aula & Siira, 2010; Vilas-Boas, Davel, Bispo, 2018), i.e. the organization. To understand the leadership process, it is helpful for owners, executives, and managers to understand their company as a recursive system of social complexity (Houchin & Maclean, 2005).

Gelfand, Leslie, Keller, & de Dreu (2012) found empirical evidence that supports the existence of three distinct conflict-cultures at the organization-level: collaborative, dominating, and avoidant. These three cultures positively related with the conflict management style of the manager. Collaborative conflict-cultures were seen with managers who cooperate with others to understand shared interests. Dominating conflict-cultures were seen with competitive leaders who use power to coerce others into supporting their position. Avoidant conflict-cultures were seen with leaders who sought to avoid any difficult conversation or situation altogether. They found a negative correlation between collaborative conflict-cultures and individual-level burnout, dominant conflict-cultures and organization-level cohesion, and avoidant conflict-cultures and group-level creativity. Subsequent analysis shows that job satisfaction ratings are impacted by these same conflict-cultures (Choi, 2019) that emerge from individual-level communicative interactions bound within an organization-level context.

From leadership process and communicative constitution perspectives, these findings uncover a need to have stable and structured conflict communication and resolution processes in place that follow a particular conflict-management ideal. If the goal is a collaborative conflict-culture, then leaders must be trained on cooperative conflict-communication and interest-based negotiation (Gelfand, Leslie, Keller, and De Dreu, 2012; Fisher, Ury, & Patton, 2011), and the company must be integrated along an organization-level conflict management system of collaboration that is obvious, available, and comfortable to use for every employee (Hetzler & Speth, 2008). Such a system is known as an Integrative Conflict Management System (ICMS), that actively and consistently works to guide the engagement and resolution of conflict throughout the organizational system at the earliest possible stage with or without formal or legal involvement (Spidr, 2001).

The emergence of culture can theoretically be influenced by a leadership process that involves owners, executives, and managers who not only understand how they and the organization are perceived by their followers, but also how they themselves perceive the organization and their followers. They must also actively engage themselves and others in a spontaneous arena to negotiate congruence of meaning between and within the levels of their company. It is also important for upper-management to understand the circumstances created by the way the work impacts the employees in order to anticipate and/or recognize areas of conflict before they get out of hand.

Discursive Space

Human organizations are unique social systems, because they employ both

human and nonhuman communication to construct and maintain shared meaning, coherence, and functional consistency (Aula & Siira, 2010; Putnam & Fairhurst, 2015; Kopaneva, 2015; Taylor, 2000). Constitutive Communication Theory is an institutional theory declaring that organizations do not exist as an object or entity separate from the ongoing communication between internal and external individuals who depend on each other’s function to achieve collective goals (Kuhn, 2012). These interactions create an experience for the individuals that is interpreted and shared through an informal communication arena. As these experiences are communicated between individuals, the style of communication, as well as the content and context, helps to construct a meaning of work for them. These constructed meanings then scale up to become discursive-structures that embed into organizational discourse. These discursive-structures are then communicated back down to the individuals through a formal communication arena or negotiated further in the informal communication arena (Aula & Siira, 2010; Fairhurst & Putnam, 2004).

This discourse is what informs present and future individuals on what to expect and how to function as members of the organization. The discursive-structures can function as a constraint on individual behavior by creating weighted decision-making processes toward the already established organizational meaning for that situation (Blaschke, et al. as cited in Kuhn, 2012); the result is a shared reality constructed from communication to inform what beliefs and behaviors create value and survivability for the individual in that system (McClellan, 2013; Fairhurst & Putnam, 2004; Anderson, 1999). The company is not a thing by itself, but through the collective communication and subsequent, regulated action of individuals, a function emerges that no single individual would be able to achieve without the organizational system informing their behavior (Taylor, 2000).

Kozlowski & Klein (2000), propose that all human organization has an individual-level, a group-level, and an organization-level of function. Each level emerges from the activity of the one below it, and the function of each varies in degree of influence on the company as a whole. These levels interact with each other through communication arenas invoked by the interdependent individuals of the system (Aula & Siira, 2010). For instance, the company communicates universal goals, expectations, and functions to its employees through uniform texts such as mission statements, training manuals, job descriptions, and vision statements. Management, a group that consists of individuals given the authority to interpret organization-level texts, then communicates these texts to the individual and group-levels that are responsible for behaving in ways that satisfy specific company goals (Kopaneva, 2015; Kuhn, 2012).

What gives management authority is the organization-level discourse that informs the individual-level interpretation of her or him as an authority figure that must be obeyed; the entire organizational system has established, and agreed to, a discursive-structure that supports the idea that a certain individual has power over others in the workplace; any manager has very little power outside of the discourse and behaviors perpetuating that meaning for their function. The managers would likely not, by default, be able to command these individuals outside of their work context. Further, in a complex adaptive system (CAS), feedback loops between individual behaviors and perceptions can construct or deconstruct established organization-level meaning for some or all of the individuals (Anderson, 1999; Kopaneva, 2015; Rost & Barker, 2000).

If the manager’s behavior does not live up to employee and/or organizational expectations for management behavior, the discursive structure giving the manager authority could be deconstructed by the dissenting individuals through an informal and spontaneous communication arena. If the formal institutional communication arena then insists on maintaining that manager or group as an authority, then incongruent meaning about organizational competence might be dissipated throughout the individual-level. This could create perceived differences between management and employee groups that could manifest into intergroup conflict (Kreisberg & Dayton, 2016) that undermines the cooperation needed for excellent organization-level outcomes. It could also cause individuals to resist each other and the organization (Prasad & Prasad, 2000) or leave the organizational system entirely (Hetzler & Speth, 2008), rather than continue working complacently under conditions they experience and agree to be negative.

Company Culture

Benjamin Schneider (1987), argues that humans are not separate from their organizational settings. The two are interdependent, and through a process of attraction, selection, and attrition, individual-level behavior is homogenized around similar people sharing similar experiences of organization-level function and communication. Those that do not feel good about working at the coffee shop, or can’t perform to standards, eventually seek other employment, voluntarily or not. This makes it simply appear as though the organization dictates behavior, and the individual’s follow suit. However, it is more a situation where those that remain support the organization-level to the point that they hold each other accountable under organization-level expectations; if individuals who do not fit well remain with the organization, coherent organization-level functions could become chaotic or disappear altogether due to the incongruences formed by conflicted individuals who must function together in a small space.

Take a coffee shop that was founded by passionate people who built an amazing specialty coffee roaster that grew quickly by providing a unique and great place for guests to socialize and work over high-quality coffee. If the original discourse that guided the emergence of such a great place are not maintained as these original people move on, then those that replace them may become less passionate about coffee. The coffee shop may slowly lose quality of coffee and professionalism if it does not have a stable structure or a system to train new-hires to that structure. Without these, upper-management may not be able to guide the selection process, the professional baristas who are initially attracted to the company might get selected out because the company itself is not a professional environment. Through this attrition of the professionals, all that’s left is part-time, minimum wage workers who do not care about increasing their levels of professionalism and skill, and the whole organization will likely stagnate.

To increase the benefit of the selection and attrition process, it is imperative that coffee shop owners and managers hire for fit rather than for need (Newton, 2017). This isn’t just about hiring for fit with the job demands either, it is important that new hires be screened to ensure they fit in with the company culture as well (Green, 2017). Being that culture will inform the appropriate behavior of everyone working for the coffee shop, individual incongruence with organizational culture can increase workplace conflict and undermine teamwork through a lack of shared meaning and social integration (Salas, et al., 2015). Research from organizational change management suggests that the best way to maintain organizational stability during times of change, such as an increase in new-hires or modification of routines, is to maintain the existing organization-level discourse to constrain the inevitable meaning reconstruction in a congruent way with the existing organizational meaning (McClellan, 2014). Hiring for job and culture fit will also decrease emotional labor by increasing authenticity and positive meaning of work for all the stakeholders. For baristas and managers alike, one of the most important structures to systematically maintain is how individual, group, and organizational conflicts are engaged, managed, and resolved.

 

References

Green, S. (2017). Culture Hacker. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

McClellan, J. G. (2014). Announcing change: Discourse, Uncertainty, and Organizational Control. Journal of Change
Management, 14
(2). 192-209.

Newton, T. (2017, July 19). How to keep your best baristas from quitting. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved from
https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2017/07/keep-baristas-quitting/

Salas, E., Shuffler, M. L., Thayer, A. L., Bedwell, W. L., Lazzara, E. H. (2015). Understanding and improving teamwork in
organizations: A scientifically based practical guide. Human Resource Management, 54(4). 599-622.

Schneider, B. (1987). The People Make the Place. Personnel Psychology, 40(3), 437–453.

 

Conflict Culture Emergence

For example, if management expects the employees to be incompetent on the job, they may not recognize employee behaviors that would contradict this meaning, even when they are there. This structure supports a perception that could constrain management decisions and behavior toward overt domination, micro-managing, and/or impatience when interacting with these employees. Likewise, if the employees don’t feel valued by management, their decisions and behavior could be constrained toward apathy for being great at their jobs. If there is no shared spontaneous communication arena between the management and employee groups to negotiate the reality of these meanings, a reinforcing feedback loop might be created between the two groups that supports the two discursive-structures of domination and apathy. These structures could then dissipate unchecked within the groups until their scope of impact grows to affect organization-level functions through intergroup and interpersonal conflicts that reduce cooperation and effective communication. If these structures are transmitted to new hires as the reality of working there, then an individual/group-level discursive-structure with an organization-level scope of impact will likely embed itself as a belief about that organization, and even the most-qualified new-hires could appear, or learn to behave, as though they are incompetent.

All of these communicative interactions, discursive-structures, experiences, and shared meanings are interdependent elements, and they influence the emergence of an organization-level function known as culture. Culture represents the collective values and beliefs that individuals reference to understand what it means to be an employee of the company and what behavior is necessary to survive as a functional employee of the company (Schein, 2010). Being aware of this information helps ensure their survivability within that organizational system. Company culture reflects the reality of working for the company and guides individual behavior and learning within the company context. As an emergent phenomenon (Ikegami, 2000) no single individual can control culture. However, through the management of discursive-structures, the building blocks of culture might be influenced to guide the emergence of culture along desired ideals.

To manage discursive-structures, leaders could try attending to how they construct their own personal meaning about the people they work with, while also considering how their own communicative interactions with those people construct meaning about the organizational systems governing them all. Ample evidence suggests that employee perception of their work environment can create very real costs (or benefits) to the company (Kopaneva, 2015; Choi, 2019; Prasad & Prasad, 2000) that goe beyond the formation of counterproductive discursive-structures. Evidence also suggests that company culture is comprised of multiple, distinct subcultures and countercultures that individuals use collectively to understand different aspects of their work (Jermier, Slocum, Fry, & Gaines, 1991), and they too influence individual-level function. Katz & Flynn (2013) contend that a sub-culture can be formed around organization-level beliefs on how to engage and resolve conflict. If conflict is constructed as a disruptive behavior among individuals, individual behavior will likely lean toward a negative affect, causing a poor natural reaction to tensions, perceived differences, and escalated conflicts.

Workplace Conflict

Organizational conflict shows up when interdependent individuals clash over task-related issues and/or person-related issues. (De Dreu, 2007). For baristas, task-related conflicts can happen unexpectedly because they all have multiple functions within the coffee shop. Not only must they make impeccable drinks and maintain impeccable attitudes, they are also responsible for general coffee shop support tasks such as washing dishes, bussing tables, sweeping, preparing food, washing windows, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, restocking merchandise and food, managing money, upselling, educating, maintaining equipment, etc. It can be relatively easy for baristas to conflict about who should do what that day, and how or when it should be done. Conflicts over task-related issues can escalate into personal conflicts if they are repeated overtime and/or ignored. Person-related conflicts can become quite toxic in a coffee shop, because space behind the counter is limited and baristas do not get to choose who they work with, or who they serve. If there are clashes, they also don’t always get to choose to remove themselves from the tension immediately. Therefore, conflicts must be handled in real-time with or without a manager or lead present. This makes it important to have competent and autonomous baristas who feel secure in addressing tensions and conflicts between guests, themselves, and their managers.

Intergroup dynamics is another source of conflict that can become quite damaging if misunderstood or left unchecked. Kriesberg & Dayton (2016) discuss perceived differences as one of the preconditions for the manifestation of conflict. When groups are bound together through the interdependent nature of organizational functioning, perceived differences could escalate into destructive conflict. Not only this, but perceived differences could emerge into a dysfunctional communication style between the groups and quickly turn into the belief that the other group has less value, and thus the individuals associated with that group do not deserve to be treated as equals (Fisher, 2014). Once this negative meaning of the other becomes a group norm, then individual and group-level behaviors can take on a destructive meaning, regardless of the intention behind the behaviors (Deutsch, Wetzler, & Chung, 2014).

Individuals who have identified with one group tend to communicate with other groups as though they are entirely different, despite any shared characteristics between the groups themselves, such as the common coffee shop struggle to serve high quality coffee as fast as possible. If incongruent group-level meanings are not known or recognized, then destructive dynamics will continue to function, often beneath the awareness of those involved. In coffee shops, these groups usually form between baristas who work during the day and those who work during the night and also between managers and baristas and front of house and back of house, and guests and baristas. The more difference between the two perceived group identities, the more conflict potential there is in the coffee shop. If the coffee shop culture supports intergroup conflict, accidentally or not, group identities may become so differentiated that small tensions can escalate into major conflicts without warning, and all the stakeholders suffer.

 

References

De Dreu, C. K. W. (2007). The virtue and vice of workplace conflict: Food for (pessimistic) thought. Journal of Organizational
Behavior, 29.
5-18. doi: 10.1002/job.474

Deutsch, M., Wetzler, J. G., & Chung, C. T. (2014). A framework for thinking about research on conflict resolution initiatives. In
P.T. Coleman, M. Deutsch, & Marcus, E. C. (Eds.), The handbook of conflict resolution: Theory and practice (pp. 1061-1086).
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Fisher, R. J. (2014). Intergroup Conflict. In P.T. Coleman, M. Deutsch, & Marcus, E. C. (Eds.), The handbook of conflict resolution:
          Theory and practice (pp. 230-252). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kriesberg & Dayton (2016). Constructive conflicts: From escalation to resolution. (5th ed). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

 

Integrative Conflict Management System (ICMS)

An ICMS is an adaptive system with stable elements that can help the entire coffee shop navigate the inevitable conflicts that will come up between baristas, managers, and guests.

The society of professionals in dispute resolution (SPIDR) published a guide to help organizations understand what an ICMS is and how to develop it. Spidr (2001) suggests that any conflict management system must be customized to address the specific needs of the organization it is being designed for. A specialty coffee shop demands cooperation and collaboration in a team environment, and many of the team members may be from a younger generation than the coffee shop owners, managers, and guests. This can create misunderstandings based on the lived experience of each group that can contribute to the manifestation of intergroup conflict, a destructive work environment, negative meaning of work, amotivation, and an increased turnover rate.

Hetzler & Speth (2008) recognize that a failure to cooperate can lead to conflict, and the traditional way of resolving conflict is to focus on rightness and divert the decision-making process to an authority to decide who wins and who loses. This characteristic of workplace conflict management can take more time than necessary for many conflicts, and it can alienate certain members of the organization who do not want to follow traditional means for resolving their conflict, or who have less power in the situation. For younger workers, it may be easier to leave the company than to report or cope with extended conflict. Since baristas are typically younger workers, and their conflicts often start with tensions in the moment, it is important for them to have the capacity and authority to resolve as much conflict as possible in the moment the tensions arise, whether that be with management, each other, or guests.

To be effective, Spidr (2001) recommends that an ICMS welcomes conversation over workplace tensions and conflicts and encourages the resolution of these as soon as possible, whether or not an authority is present. However, without support from management or the organization, an ICMS will not be effective for all the internal stakeholders and will ultimately fail to emerge a collaborative conflict-culture. Further, if the internal stakeholders are unaware how to handle difficult conversations or aren’t comfortable with engaging conflict, the system could fail as well. An ICMS will be expensive and redundant without the support, training, and understanding of those who are expected to utilize and enforce it.

Three important skills for engaging conflict are, being aware of one’s own personal biases of the other, being aware of one’s own biases toward conflict itself, and looking at the situation from the other’s perspective as much as possible (Coleman, Deutsch, Marcus, 2014). In this way, the conversation can become a genuine negotiation of interests rather than a competition for rightness and power. When people are interdependently linked over time, such as in the workplace, it is easy to identify the other person as the problem, rather than recognizing the problem as an incongruence between the needs and interests of humans or their organization. This can lead a conflict from simple issues over task or process to more complicated issues between people over how they will continue relating. Fisher, Ury, and Patton (2011) explain that this can be avoided by understanding each other’s perceptions, speaking and listening clearly, avoiding blame while emotional, and having an outlook focused on how to move forward (p. 23). These skills will help individuals change how they treat each other when in the midst of conflict and are important skills to include in any training initiative to support an ICMS, or a specialty coffeeshop.

Training the entire coffee shop on the principles of interest-based negotiation will likely increase the competence everyone feels toward engaging conflicts and tensions in real time. This could decrease the time it takes for guests and baristas to receive a resolution, because the baristas can address their concerns and offer a suitable resolution before the guests (or their team members) leave the coffeeshop for good. Organization-wide support for immediate resolution typically increases the security people feel for engaging conflicts by providing autonomy to address the issue without manager involvement. This could reduce the anxiety associated with threat states that may come up when faced with managerial power, which is the type of anxiety most impactful on the cognitive processes necessary for emotional regulation (Robinson, Vytal, Cornwell, & Grillon, 2013). Lastly, when all the internal stakeholders follow the same, collaborative guidelines for engaging conflict, relatedness among the team could increase through the habit of taking each other’s perspective, being one group rather than several, and not allowing emotions to create blame. This relatedness could decrease the amount of person-related workplace conflict as well, because the baristas and managers will feel connected with each other and desire to communicate respectfully with each other when faced with task-related conflicts before they emerge into personal issues that are much harder to resolve.

 

References

Coleman, P. T., Deutsch, M., Marcus, E. C. eds. (2014). The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.

Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (2011) Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Hetzler, D. C. & Speth, A. N. (2008). Future dispute system design: Ethical imperatives, millennial and beyond. Ohio State
Journal on Dispute Resolution, 24
(1).

Robinson, O. J., Vytal, K., Cornwell, B. R., Grillon, C. (2013). The impact of anxiety upon cognition: perspectives from threat of
shock studies. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(203). doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00203.

SPIDR. (2001). Guidelines for the design of integrated conflict management systems within organizations. Journal of
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment, 3
(1), 45–48.

Barista Soft Skills

Emotional labor occurs when a person must behave in a way that does not match with how he or she is feeling at that moment, and the service industry as a whole demands a high level of emotional labor (Grandey, 2000). While the hourly wage is compensation for the physical and mental demands of the job, the tip income could be considered compensation for the emotional demands of the job (Bernson, 2013). This makes it necessary for a barista to continuously manage their emotions to consistently express an appropriate demeanor for their environment if they are to earn a livable wage. Research in emotional regulation has shown that when people actively amplify or suppress what they are feeling in a situation, they are put under emotive dissonance and cognitive strain that can lead to negative long-term effects (Grandey, 2000). People in dissonance struggle with the reality of being incongruent with their perceived self (Grandey & Gabriel, 2015), and overtime, this can lead to chronic stress and related illnesses (Woolston, 2018), and many cafes do not offer health insurance to their workforce (Bernson, 2013); so, many baristas must deny their own healthcare if they can’t afford to pay out of pocket.

The usual options for resolving dissonance are to modify the situation, modify the perception of the situation, or modify the expression of the emotions about the situation (Gross, 1998). Baristas can rarely modify their situation during a stressful shift, because they must be on display to work. Instead, they must either modify their perception of the situation itself or their emotional expression during the situation. When an individual modifies their emotional expression only, they are involved in what Hochschild termed surface-acting (as cited in Grandey, 2000). While there are individual differences that affect the toll and success of surface-acting, it has been shown to relate to lower job satisfaction among workers, and higher instances of employee burnout (Grandey & Gabriel, 2015). Due to the sheer volume of guest interactions, the best option for baristas is to modify their perception of the situation. This is what Hochschild termed deep-acting (as cited in Grandey, 2000), which involves cognitive function that can reduce the salience of the emotion, and thus the strain of the emotional labor. The process of deep-acting is complex, and measurements can be confounded by individual motivation states, but deep acting has been shown to relate to increases in job satisfaction and does not appear to affect employee burnout one way or another (Grandey & Gabriel, 2015).

With many guests seeing the same baristas daily, it is relatively easy to spot surface-acting, and the guest experience could suffer as a result. For the barista to achieve the highest levels of service excellence and income, it is necessary to provide them with structural support for emotional labor and perception management to develop their capacity for maintaining the long-term emotional regulation required by their role. Aque (2007) reflects that perception is not a constant, fixed truth, but rather a set of fixed elements within a system of changing elements that individuals use to decide what is true in the moment. Thus, perception could theoretically be managed through the maintenance of discursive-structures as well, potentially creating a positive reinforcing feedback loop between individual-level perception and organization-level culture that starts with attending to how the baristas make meaning while working at the cafe.

References

Aque, C. (2007). Perception. The University of Chicago.
Retrieved from https://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/perceptionperceivability.htm

Bernson, A. (2013, Jan. 9). Real talk: Barista health in the workplace – Part two. Sprudge.
Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/real-talk-barista-health-in-the-workplace-part-two-31256.html

Grandey, A. A. (2000). Emotion regulation in the workplace: A new way to conceptualize emotional labor. Journal of
Occupational Health Psychology, 5
(1). 95-110. doi: 0.1037//1076-8998.S.1.9S

Grandey, A. A. & Gabriel, A. S. (2015). Emotional labor at a crossroads: Where do we go from here? Annual Review of
Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2
. 323-349.

Gross, J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3). 271-299.

Woolston, C. (2018, March 30). Barista’s burden. Knowable Magazine.
Retrieved from https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/mind/2018/baristas-burden

 

Barista Meaning of Work

When managing baristas, one of the most important things to consider is what frames their meaning of working for the cafe, because this meaning shapes their perception, which helps to moderate the amount of emotional labor they must commit to their shift. Meaning is constructed within the experience an individual has from interacting in a culture and society; it is generally shared among individuals within common sociohistorical contexts (Tolfo cited in Santos & Fontenelle, 2019). In the workplace, the company occupies the place of society, and the individuals together construct and deconstruct meaning that emerges a culture based on their interpretation and experience of working for that company (Schein, 2010; Boas, Davel, Bispo, 2018). Overtime, the company develops a sociohistorical context of its own that becomes embedded in the culture to guide future meaning-making processes within that company (Putnam & Fairhurst, 2015).

Meaning of Work (MOW) scholars have reported that work becomes meaningful with the interactions between self, others, work context, and spiritual life through the mechanisms of authenticity, self-efficacy, self-esteem, purpose, belongingness, transcendence, and cultural/interpersonal sensemaking (Rosso, Dekas, & Wrzesniewski, 2010). Meaningful work has been described as a fundamental human need that impacts job satisfaction, turnover intention, and organizational commitment (Wang & Xu, 2017). Human needs are non-negotiable, and Galtung (2000) considers the desire to satisfy them as a force of nature.

The meaning and significance of the work to the worker has been shown to negatively correlate with the amount of emotional labor required to do the job well (Santos & Fontenelle, 2019). The more meaningful the work, the easier it will be for the barista to manage their emotions when they do not align with the situation. If cafe managers are to reduce the emotional labor of their baristas, they must put effort toward influencing the emergence of a company culture that allows all the stakeholders to feel effective and authentic members of an organization they can be proud of belonging to. With this effort, evidence suggests that the baristas will become more motivated to excel at their jobs, and cafe profits will increase beyond what is possible otherwise.

References

Boas, O. T., Davel, E. P. B., Bispo, M. D. (2018). Leadership as cultural practice. Revista de Administracao Mackenzie, 19(1). doi: 10.1590/1678-6971/eRAMG180076.

Galtung, J. (2000). Conflict transformation by peaceful means: The transcend method. United Nations Disaster Management Training Program: TRANSCEND.

Putnam, L. L. & Fairhurst, G. T. (2015). Revisiting “organizations as discursive constructions”: 10 years later. Communication Theory, 25. 375-392.

Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30, 91–127. doi: 10.1016/j.riob.2010.09.001

Santos, E. F. & Fontenelle, I. A. (2019). The construction of meaning for the emotional labor. Revista de Administracao Mackenzie, 20(1). doi: 10.1590/1678-6971/eRAMG190089

Schein, E. H. 2010. Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wang, Z. & Xu, H. (2017). When and for who ethical leadership is more effective in eliciting work meaningfulness and positive attitudes: The moderating roles of core self-evaluation and perceived organizational support. Journal of Business Ethics, 156. 919-940.

 

Barista Motivation

Big business methods of increasing worker motivation are full of reward and punishment systems that can be too expensive and complex for a local cafe to maintain. Historically, coffee in America has been a low-cost, low-quality commodity that must be sold in high-volumes to make a profit (Halevy, 2011). As a result, many cafes can not afford to give raises or benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation to their baristas, and many cafe owners and managers don’t have the time to consistently evaluate and modify their organizational practices to manage cultural stability with a transient, young workforce. This makes it difficult to motivate baristas in traditional ways. Not to mention, research repeatedly finds that external rewards can undermine the natural motivation of individuals (Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 1999). Therefore, it is necessary to think beyond traditional, American business practices to understand what can enable and what can undermine barista’s natural motivation states for the work they do.

Self-determination theory (SDT) posits that humans have three basic psychological needs that drive motivational quality, well-being, and satisfaction among workers. These needs are competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Rigby & Ryan, 2018).  The need for autonomy can be fulfilled by being clear about the reasons for the task; the need for relatedness can be fulfilled by respecting and supporting baristas as valuable elements of the cafe and including them as much as possible with organization-level decisions; the need for competence can be fulfilled by ensuring everyone has what they need to succeed at their jobs (Rigby & Ryan, 2018). When these needs are fulfilled, evidence shows that workers are more satisfied, committed, productive, and they tend to miss less days due to physical illness (Guntert, 2015; Williams, et al., 2014).

SDT refines the traditional construct of extrinsic motivation into a continuum between controlled motivation and autonomous motivation, with autonomous motivation being the closest to having intrinsic motivation for completing a task (Gagne & Deci, 2005). The further away the motivation state is from intrinsic motivation, the more coercion or persuasion will be necessary to convince the baristas to complete the specified task. This can increase manager stress and can create a negative feedback loop that can shape a negative meaning of work for all involved, which further undermines cafe and barista excellence. The closer the motivation state is to intrinsic motivation the less effort the managers and leads will need to make to motivate the baristas. Therefore, it is important to move the motivation state of the baristas toward intrinsic motivation for their work by satisfying SDT’s three basic needs. If the baristas can make their work meaningful, then their motivation state will move even closer to intrinsic motivation. Managers can help with this by shaping a meaningful experience of working at the cafe.

Among the ways in which MOW research has shown work becomes meaningful to the worker, authenticity is linked with intrinsic motivation, which is what SDT strives to recreate; self-efficacy relates to individual perception of power to control circumstances and the ability to complete job functions, which is linked with SDT’s competence and autonomy needs. Belongingness links with the need for relatedness by way of individual experience of interpersonal connectedness to the organization and its members (Rosso, Dekas, & Wrzesniewski, 2010). Therefore, a self-determined workforce could derive greater meaning from the work they do. For baristas, managers, and leads, this could contribute to a decrease in the negative effects of emotional labor by increasing their capacity for deep-acting and intrinsic motivation to complete their daily tasks. For cafes, this could increase profit and improve sustainability without relying on traditional methods that may be out of the budget for that location. However, if organizational conflict is managed poorly, it could undermine all other efforts to satisfy barista needs.

References

Deci, E. L., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 125. 627-668.

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