Case Analysis on Low Morale in the Workplace

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THE ISSUE OF
LOW MORALE IN THE WORKPLACE

Prepared for Jack Smith
Radar Systems Flight Chief
Ogden ALC

Prepared by
Mary White
Program Manager
Radar Systems Section
Ogden ALC

February 27, 2011

THE ISSUE OF
LOW MORALE IN THE WORKPLACE

INTRODUCTION

For the majority of the employed population, the workplace can be a daunting environment. There are many factors that contribute to this negative experience including difficult coworkers, lack of appreciation, confined working quarters, long work hours, etc. These factors are the underlying causes of low morale in the workplace. Low morale can have devastating consequences to productivity and work ethic, and therefore must be properly evaluated for possible solutions.

Morale is more than people just being happy and eager to work. It is an entire thought process that leaves people feeling appreciated and fulfilled in what they do every day. According to The Free Dictionary, morale can be defined as “the state of the spirits of a person or group as exhibited by confidence, cheerfulness, discipline, and willingness to perform assigned tasks; or the degree of mental or moral confidence of a person or group; spirit of optimism.” These definitions both use some of the same keywords such as group of people and willingness to perform tasks. These factors can be detrimental to mission success, which is why low morale is not something to be taken lightly. It is unrealistic to expect that people are always going to enjoy what they’re doing and not encounter any setbacks. It is when there is a constant feeling of getting nowhere, being underappreciated, and not having the tools to do the job that morale can be affected.

The purpose of this report is to analyze the causes of low morale in the workplace, and to hopefully implement solutions to improve morale in our section. First I will explain why morale is so important in a work environment, and what some of the signs of low morale can be. Next, I will use statistics from other workplaces, based on the latest Climate Assessment Surveys, to compare the morale in each work center within the directorate. This will narrow down the causes whether the directorate as a whole is involved or just the section itself. This will provide a starting point on where to implement the solutions. I will also provide examples of other workplaces that have faced the issue of low morale, and some of the ways they were able to overcome it. Lastly I will summarize the overall problems and solutions presented, and propose an action be taken to remedy the issue.

ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS

I have been a working citizen since the age of sixteen, so I have experienced many work environments, all of them with varying levels of morale. According to Finger (2005), “morale is more influenced from the top down than from the bottom up.  There is no single factor that consistently explains good or poor morale.  Rather, a combination of related factors results in good or poor morale.” It seems that it is more a collaboration of different events that contribute to the morale of the workplace. I will admit that leadership and supervision play a large role in the welfare of their workers. I am not referring to only next level supervision but also to the upper management that make decisions which trickle down to the workers. As a military member I experienced the worst environment for morale out of any other workplace. The problem in this case was the upper management. They were ordering mandatory 12 hour shifts every day and there was never any reason for people to be motivated because they already felt like they were being punished. The problem with supervision also was that they were not realizing that the fatigue and bad attitudes of the workers was caused by the 12 hour shifts, or if they did they were ignoring it. I believe a good workplace supervisor should be aware of the many signs of slipping morale in the workplace before it is too...
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