Office Space and Ob

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I choose to analyze the movie Office Space. My analysis focuses on the lack of motivation Peter has for his job as well as analyzing the values he takes into consideration when making decisions. I will be using the scene where Peter is interviewed by the Bobs as a focal point for my analysis. I will be performing this analysis by using one concept and two theories which are the psychological contract, Hackman & Oldham Job Characteristics Theory, and Kohlberg’s theory.

Peter’s perspective on what is wrong with Initech is described in the scene where Peter talks to the two Bobs. Instead of going to a higher authority in order to fix his situation, he has instead gone along with his mundane tasks with just enough effort in order to not get fired. His non-chalant attitude towards his job can be seen when he stops coming to work for long periods of time, playing games when he should be working, and spacing out at work among many other situations. In the interview with the Bobs he reveals that the reason for his lack of effort is “simply the lack of motivation”(film). He feels that no matter what he does at his job he receives no positive feedback. The only thing that motivates him at work is not to do something wrong since he will be questioned on it by eight different bosses. Giving negative feedback as a way of motivation isn’t the best strategy, since all that it requires an employee to do is work slowly but diligently. A more efficient way of providing feedback would be to give employees immediate positive or negative feedback. By giving both types of feedback it lets the employee know that they are valued members of the corporation. At the beginning of the movie, I found myself greatly questioning why Peter is working at the company since it is very obvious he finds no enjoyment from his job. After watching the interview with the Bob’s, I felt myself increasingly persuaded by his point of view. If there is no reprisal from not doing your best on the job or simply not coming to work, then where is the motivation to do anything at all? I feel, that no matter what the company does it would not be sufficient to captivate an employee such as Peter. With a person that simply doesn’t care and really has no motivation in life, there is simply no way to motivate them in this type of atmosphere. It is up to Peter to be honest with himself and leave the job in search for something that will better meet his needs. For other employees, I feel that the company could be doing a better job to motivate them. Everyone else seems to be motivated to do there job but out of fear of losing it, which isn’t the best motivation. Peter exemplifies the reason perfectly by saying “that will only make someone work hard enough not to get fired”(film). In a company such as Initech where the tasks seem mundane and outright boring, there should be incentives to do your best. The Bob’s idea of a “stock options equity sharing program” would be one of the best ways to deal with this. This way the employees not only see there success but they are also motivated to do there best for personal financial reasons. The proof that such an idea works can be seen in such companies as Microsoft which had a similar program when the company was first getting started. From this program Microsoft has become a monopoly in the software industry. I found the Bobs had very great active listening skills in that they came up with some pretty sufficient ideas when it came to Peter’s concerns. By actively listening they reserved judgment until after the whole interview, even though they seemed pretty shocked at first that to learning that Peter did very little. They used probing questions using little judgment in order to get as much information into the arena of Jahri’s window. By doing this they were able to evaluate the situation sufficiently in order to recommend changes to management. I think the Bobs reached the wrong perception on Peter’s character. The suggestions...
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