Critical Thinking Assignment on "Grief and the Workplace"

Topics: Grief, Kübler-Ross model, George Bonanno Pages: 6 (1742 words) Published: March 16, 2013
Critical Thinking Assignment Summary Page|
Criteria| Your points|
1. Summary of the issue | * Individuals are expected to go through certain stages during their grief work process in order to emotionally relocate their loss and achieve closure * Managers and organizations need to offer support and recognition of the grieving employee’s loss to prevent disenfranchised or stifled grief * Work with a moral purpose can help to transcend grief| 2. Other theoretical perspectives related to this issue| * Temes’ 3 stages of grief (Numbness, Disorganisation, Reorganisation) * Bonanno’s 4 trajectories of grief (Resilience, Recovery, Chronic dysfunction, Delayed trauma)| 3. Assessment of supporting data or evidence| * Small sample size for some researches mentioned * Lack of objectivity with numerous self citations * May have confirmation bias * Legitimacy of the huge loss figure due to hidden grief in the workplace| 4. Key assumptions and influence of contexts on the issue | * Every individual faced with a recent loss should display the behaviors from the stages of grieving if they are not suffering from stifled or disenfranchised grief * Professional support or grieve counseling is beneficial * Context: does not consider the different cultural impact and society’s expectations of a grieving person as well as financial conditions of the grieving employee| 5. Overall analysis of this article (conclusions, implications, and consequences)| * Hazen’s recommendations may encourage the pathologization of grieve when concerned managers failed to observe any grieving behaviors from employees * Grieve counseling should be recommended with care|

This paper is a critic of the article “Grief and the Workplace” by Hazen, M. A. It provides a summary of the article; alternative perspectives on grief; assessment on the validity of the evidence and key assumptions put forth in the arguments; and the impact of context on grief in the workplace.

The article suggests that managers and organizations should play a part in the grieving process of employees. To do this, they have to increase their understanding of the grieving process. Traditional models of grief introduced the concept of grief work and the stages of grieving that an individual will go through [ (Kübler-Ross, 1969) ]. This will affect how managers manage their expectations of the grieving employee’s behavior and performance.

Meanwhile, current models of grief mentioned in the article highlight the positive impact of social support on grieving employees. An employee has to divide his or her attention between grief work and other commitments [ (Stroebe, 1999) ], thus he or she will cope better in the grieving process with support from a compassionate organization and caring managers. This support is reportedly crucial for the closure of the employee’s grieving process and to prevent the disenfranchisement of grief [ (Doka, 1989) ]. The article also shows that work with a moral purpose can be intrinsically healing.

While many grief models are covered in the article, it is beneficial to take a look at other perspectives of grief. One example is Roberta Temes’ [ (1984) ] three stages of grief – numbness, disorganization, reorganization. Numbness is characterized by “mechanical functioning” of the griever and the withdrawal from social circles as a reaction to the shock of the loss. Next, disorganization is where the griever experience severe sorrow when reality sinks in and indulges in irrational actions. Lastly, reorganization is the adjustment to normal life after the loss. This may bear similarities to the other stage theories of grief but the main difference is that it is compulsory for the griever to advance through every stage in order.

Another perspective, which is backed by scientific research, is Bonanno’s (2002) four trajectories of grief: * Resilience – The ability of adults to remain “relatively stable”...

References: Bonanno, G. A. (2004). Loss, Trauma and Human Resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely adverse events? American Psychological Association .
Bonanno, G. A. (2002). Resilience to loss and chronic grief: A prospective study from pre-loss to 18 months post-loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology .
Doka, K. (1989). Disenfranchised grief: Recognizing hidden sorrow. New York: Lexington Books.
Hazen, M. A. (2008). Grief and the Workplace. Academy of Management Perspectives , 78-86.
Konigsberg, R. D. (2011). New Ways to Think About Grief. Time .
Kübler-Ross. (1969). On death and dying. New York: Macmillan.
Stix, G. (2011). The Neuroscience of True Grit. Scientific American Magazine .
Stroebe, M. &. (1999). The dual process model of coping with bereavement: Rationale and description.
Temes, D
Weighing the Costs of Disaster: Consequences, Risks and Resilience in Individuals, Families and Communities. (2010). Association for Psychological Science .
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