Social Science: Work Ethic and People Skills Survey

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Social Science: The Psychology of Workplace Terms

The efficient modern worker is expected to understand and adapt to the complex social systems of interaction that are essential for business success in our society. In order to accomplish this one must be able to take in, organize, and make sense of information quickly. In the end, then, success always comes down to people and communication skills. Another trait of the proficient modern worker is a strong work ethic- a term which encompasses a range of values and behaviors that fundamentally influences the way one approaches a particular job. But there is a problem inherent in these concepts, and it lies in the functionality of the terms “people skills” and “work ethic.” More specifically, they are not readily definable or concrete, and therefore not applicable. It is not difficult to see why this ambiguity may be problematic for those so focused on achieving proficiency in these areas; if one cannot define the road the way forward is impossible. Considering this, it is therefore necessary to conduct the following survey so that a more suitable and specific set of definitions may be realized and, in conjunction, a clear path to their achievement may be unpacked. Written below is the outline and methodology of this survey, along with the accompanying results and conclusions that can be drawn from this effort.

For this survey there was developed a sample of twelve people, chosen only on the basis of their demographic diversity and willingness to participate. The test group was composed of the following subjects given in no particular order: Male, 35; Female, 62; Male, 53; Female, 28; Male, 47; Female, 45; Male, 27; Male, 72; Male, 68; Female, 66; Female, 58; Female, 30. After consent as given the survey was initiated.

After finding a suitable subject and gaining consent, the matter of administering the survey was broken into two parts- the briefing of the subject as to the purpose and design of the activity, and the actual positing of the questions. The briefing of the subject was a relatively quick explanation regarding the reason for the survey (college class), what the survey specifically entailed (number of questions and topic), and how the information will be ultimately utilized (write a paper). The subject was given as much information as needed to ensure their comfort and consent. This initiation period generally spanned roughly three to eight minutes depending on varying contextual factors.

Subsequent to briefing the subject and ensuring his/her participation and comfort level, the conductor prepared to issue the questions and record the responses. The actual positing of the questions was a simple matter involving the careful articulation of the question, followed by the unscripted response of the subject. The response was then carefully written down in its entirety, and the next question posed. No time constraint was imposed on the process, and the subjects were encouraged to weigh their answers. This was important as it directly impacted the only stated constraint of the survey: the conductor could not help answer the questions, only offer guidance and perhaps clarification. It is of note to mention that the subjects weren’t told of the constraint unless necessary to maintain the integrity of it. When the questions were sufficiently posited and answered, the conductor then concluded the survey by thanking the subject and answering any further questions and/or concerns.

Upon completion of the survey, the resulting data from the 12 subjects was compiled and analyzed in an effort to find the correlations necessary to construct a working definition of “people skills” and/or “work ethic.” The resulting data was then utilized, in turn, to determine how to best improve upon these areas- which is the second intent of this survey. In order to accomplish a deeper level of meaning the data was analyzed and filtered through the subject’s...
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