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Life on the Tilt-a-Whirl: Workers’ Needs and Change

Life on the Tilt-a-Whirl: Workers’ Needs and Change

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Life on the Tilt-a-Whirl: Workers’ Needs and Change

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  1. Life on the Tilt-a-Whirl: Workers’ Needs and Change Dr. Lee D. Butterfield, Adler School of Professional Psychology Dr. William A. Borgen, University of British Columbia Cannexus Conference January 21, 2014 L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  2. Where it Began: The Experience of Unemployment L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  3. Impact of Unemployment L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  4. Output from the Studies of the Psychological Reactions to Unemployment Enduring message from participants – People don’t know what it is like. You have to tell them… Scholarly and Professional Articles Development of a Training Program in Group Employment Counselling, implemented in Canada and five other countries Creation of a Self-Help booklet – At the Controls: Charting a Course through Unemployment L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  5. Beginning in 2002 – Focus on Workers • Combination of interests in career, human resource management practices, change/transition, and the Critical Incident Technique research method • Dr. Bill Borgen • Dr. Norm Amundson • Lee Butterfield, M.A., Ph.D. student at the time • SSHRC-funded grant had 3 components: • 1st component: Workplace wellness programs • 2nd component: Workers handling change well that affected their work • Broad range of workers from 19 – 59 and from labourers to senior leadership positions • 3rd component: Factors workers take into account when making career decisions L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  6. Implications for Future Research • Arose from the 2nd component of the research project related to workers handling change well that affected their work: • What is the process involved in moving from not doing well to doing well? • How are those doing well appraising situations involving change? • Are different groups of people using different strategies (older workers, younger workers, new immigrants)? L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  7. 2005 SSHRC Research Project • Critical Incident Technique: What helps or hinders workers’ ability to handle change well that affects their work? Focus was on three specific populations • Older workers • Younger workers • New immigrants • Grounded Theory: What is the process that allows workers to move from not doing as well with change to doing well with change? L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  8. SSHRC 2009 Research Project • Missing from the earlier studies were middle managers – sandwiched between workers and executives, how do they do well with the changes they are experiencing that affect their work? • Non-retiring workers aged 65 and older – who are they, what factors did they consider when deciding to continue working, what supports did they have, what would have helped them with their decision? L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  9. Results of Ongoing Studies • What factors helped and hindered workers deal well with changes affecting their work • 15 categories of helping, hindering, wish list items • Largest helping category group = Support • Largest hindering categories = Management Style/Work Environment/Sense of Competence • Suggests environment has an impact and needs to be taken into account L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  10. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  11. What Workers Are Telling Us • Participants in our studies over the past 10 years have told us that they are changing jobs and organizations throughout their careers • Career support is not just needed at the point of entry or because of layoff or downsizing • Organizations’ best workers are choosing to leave when interactions with managers/supervisors hinder their ability to do their best work • Many who have not left are planning to leave as a result of unsatisfactory interactions with managers/supervisors • Workers told us they want to “matter” to their managers and organizations L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  12. OUTCOMES FOR WORKERS Thriving Adapted from Carver (1998, p.246) Resilient Coping Succumbing L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  13. Motivated • Invigorated • Connected • Successful • Comfortable Engaged • Excited • Interested • Happy • Creative • Reinvent oneself Competent Oscillation Challenged Enthusiastic Discouraged Angry • Dispirited • Devalued • Unimportant • Stuck • Frazzled • Struggling • Confused • Concerned • Frustrated • Annoyed • Angry • Mad Burned Out Alienated • Anxious • Guilty • Exhausted • Falling apart • Stressed • Overwhelmed • Depressed • Doubting • Uncertain • Used • Disengaged • Failing • Worried • Tired • Pressured • Lonely • Lost • Isolated • Grieving • Alone L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  14. How Do These Results Compare with Your Experience? L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  15. Moving Towards Doing Well and Staying There – Understanding the Process • The results we have just discussed sparked our interest in understanding two things: • Was our hunch correct? Did people actually move from not handling changes well that affected their work to handling them well? and • What process was involved that allowed people move from not handling well changes that affected their work, to self-reporting that they were then able to handle such changes well? • This study used grounded theory methodology to focus on the process of how people moved from not doing well to doing well with changes affecting their work L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  16. Demographics Number of Participants: 16 Gender: 6 Men and 10 Women Age: 50 to 70 Country of Birth: Canada Education: Some College to Doctorate Household Income: $2,000 to over $200,000 Martial Status: Single, Married, Widowed, and Divorced Wide Range of Occupations Length of Time in Occupation - 2 months to 18 years Length of Time with Company - 2 years to 25 years Length of Time in Current Job - Under 6 months to 8 years L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  17. Changes that Affected Their Work • Personal • Job • Company L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  18. What Does “Doing Well” Mean? “I think coping well means maintaining a sense of personal health throughout this, a sense of balance, a sense of meaning and, being aware of when things are becoming overwhelming at an early stage and being intervening on my own behalf to address those issues.” • Focus on the positive/opportunities • Work-life balance • Coping and adapting to the different dynamics and demands without feeling bitter • Learning from the different experience • Managing stress/Sense of personal health • Maintaining personal contact with others in your environment • Sense of wholeness/Sense of meaning • Sense of hope and acceptance • “Generous exploration into the future” • Emotionally skilled with dealing with the change/ “not falling to pieces” • Remain optimistic/happy • Content with your situation/ Maintain peace of mind • Not feeling afraid • “Take on most challenges and be successful with them.” • “Changing the environment …in a positive way” • Receive positive performance feedback from others • “Not allowing the change to take over and control not just my life but our lives, my family’s life…” • How I feel/You know you are doing a good job at work • You feel in control • Sense of satisfaction and encouragement and persistence • Sense of humour/Stand upright and laugh • “rolling with the punches” L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  19. Unexpected Findings • Two overarching experiences of the change from not doing well to doing well • Major point of demarcation in moving from not doing well to doing well • 4 Participants • Ongoing cycles of challenges to doing well and regaining a sense of doing well • 12 Participants L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  20. Points of Demarcation L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  21. Core Elements in Moving Toward Doing Well Increased Self-Awareness “I think it was when I started to get better. And I started to realize that nothing matters as much as your health and being here and that I want to live a long life and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.” Increased Understanding • Current emotional state “I had to be on the floor a few times before I learned how to land on my feet.” • Core strength “You are who you are.” • Skills “Learning those actual life skills - those problem solving skills really helped me out. Because I didn’t have those.” L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  22. Core Elements in Moving Toward Doing Well • Personal Agency/Action: “I think the turning point was when I went to the meeting…and told (them) that I would not be working with them anymore; that I would not be travelling anymore… I didn’t get any requests anymore because I was very clear about it.” • Acceptance of Issues Beyond One’s Control: “I had to learn how to look at things differently and accept that sometimes really awful things have happened to me and that it wasn’t my fault, it just happens. ” Moving from being externally directed to be internally guided L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  23. Ongoing Cycles of Challenges to Doing Well and Regaining a Sense of Doing Well L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  24. Tilt-A-Whirl: Losing and Regaining Equilibrium L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  25. Challenges to Equilibrium L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  26. Hindering Incident Categories • Personal – This category identified sub-categories about the participants and/or their reaction to the change that hindered them to do well with change. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  27. Hindering Incident Categories • Social Needs and Concerns– This category identified sub-categories about the participants’ needs for social support and their concerns about the impact of the change on others. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  28. Hindering Incident Categories • Workplace Conditions– This category identified sub-categories about workplace conditions that hindered them to do well with change. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  29. Regaining Equilibrium L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  30. Helpful Incident Categories • Personal – This category identified sub-categories about the participants and/or what they controlled within their change experience that helped them do well with change. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  31. Helpful Incident Categories • Workplace Experience– This category identified sub-categories related to the participants’ place of work that helped them do well with change. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  32. What Would Have Helped Regain Equilibrium L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  33. Wish List Categories • Workplace Management– This category identified sub-categories the participants wished they had in the workplace to do well with change. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  34. Doing Well With Change – Enduring Impressions Point of demarcation may or may not occur – similar range of responses as in Carver’s model. Ongoing need to regain equilibrium – therefore there is an ongoing need to be aware of self in the situation and to continually make decisions regarding how to respond – Career Decisions L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  35. The Context of Individual Career/Life Planning SOCIETAL CONTEXT FAMILY SELF/ IDENTITY PERSONAL CAREER L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  36. Context in Which Career Decisions are Being Made Several factors influence choice of occupations or career paths, including individual attributes or traits, family perspectives, rapidly evolving cultural influences such as poverty, addiction, conflict, displacement and discrimination, along with internationalization and rapid change in labour market opportunities. These factors are differentially important within and across cultural contexts. Occupations of choice may not be accessible. Many tasks and processes related to occupations are unstable. People need the skills and attitudes required to successfully manage rapid and unpredictable changes that characterize many occupations and career trajectories. Career Development is an emerging professional activity. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  37. The Aim of Career Services On the basis of our studies, this appears to be what people need in the way of career services: More informed about career options; More confident in their ability to engage in achieving the career goals they have set; More robust in meeting the challenges and opportunities of future career/life transitions; More able to seek and have available career help when needed throughout their working lives; and More skilful in accessing information that is up-to-date to help them make career decisions. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  38. Discussion: How do we help people learn these skills/achieve these outcomes? Being more informed about career options; Being more confident in their ability to engage in achieving the career goals they have set; Being more robust in meeting the challenges and opportunities of future career/life transitions; Being more able to seek and have available career help when needed throughout their working lives; and Being more skilful in accessing information that is up-to-date to help them make career decisions. L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen

  39. THANK YOU! lbutterfield@adler.edu william.borgen@ubc.ca L.D. Butterfield & W.A. Borgen