Friday, April 22, 2011

Drop a Pill When Acting Like One?

Are you or some of your employees treating customers in verbally aggressive ways? Maybe it’s because of a lack of acceptance by fellow workers in the store. If so, social psychologist C. Nathan DeWall at University of Kentucky has research findings which indicate taking a daily dose of 1,000 mg of acetaminophen for three weeks can ease the obnoxious behavior measurably.
     He and his colleagues had recognized how physical and social pain have overlapping effects. Functional MRIs (fMRIs) show that when people take medications that ease their physical pain, they usually also have less activity in brain regions associated with emotional distress.
     The researchers also knew from their prior studies that when someone feels socially rejected they’re much more likely to become hostile, as well as to delay taking care of their businesses and when they do take action, often making impulsive decisions.
     Putting this all together, the Kentucky researchers tested out the effects of the analgesic. It worked. But does Prof. DeWall recommend this remedy? “Definitely not!... (D)rugs aren’t necessary,” he told a Harvard Business Review interviewer.
     I agree. There are better ways to ease the grouchiness that arises from feeling socially rejected. One set of techniques is based on evidence that retail employees have a lower threshold for feeling rejected when they are burnt out on their current job duties. This is a particular risk for the older employee. They’ve been carrying out the same routines for a long time. They also may feel isolated from and by the younger employees.
     Here are some research-based remedies:
  • Give feedback more frequently.
  • Remind the employee of the significance of their job duties to the overall store profitability.
  • Expand the scope of duties so there is more of a sense of working on the same project from beginning to end.
  • Increase the variety of duties and variety of other staff with whom the employee interacts.
     That last remedy ties into the second set of techniques. These involve helping employees to perceive social acceptance. Even a little improvement can help. In other studies conducted by the Kentucky researchers, some participants were told that all four people in a group preferred not to work with them. These participants showed hostility and aggressiveness in their job performance. However, the aggression diminished significantly if a participant learned that even one person in the group wanted to work with them.

Click below for more:
Put Customers to Sleep After Irritating Them
Use Terror Management Theory for Status Items
Use Customer Life Changes to Switch Brands

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