Job Satisfaction and Ethical Behavior in Prisons

Employee Attitude

The attitude developed by employees determines the way they perform their duties in the organizational setting. Poor attitudes may be a recipe for poor performance since attitude is the main influence on motivation, which directly influences the employee output. Positive attitudes lead to higher levels of motivation in the organization’s workforce, which results in improved output. In a correctional facility, poor attitude among employees may be dangerous to them, the institution, and the prisoners that they are supposed to manage. As such, they may affect other aspects of the prison.

One aspect that is already affected in the prison under scrutiny is the security of the installation. When the staff people have a poor attitude, they rarely show interest while performing their work thoroughly. This situation may provide an opportunity for the inmates to exploit the gaps to their advantage. Poor attitude may also cause some of the staff members to aid the prisoners in performing illegal activities such as sneaking illegal things in the prison system (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). The result of this act is the general decrease in the security of prisoners as they may use the sneaked things to harm each other or other staff members. The prisoners also gain confidence when they have support from members of staff in carrying out illegal activities. Hence, they may even attempt to break out or riot.

The other aspect that poor attitude may affect in a prison is the development of gangs within the prison. When the staff people are not motivated, they may be less concerned on the welfare of the inmates. When inmates sense that workers who are supposed to take care of them are not interested, they naturally develop their own mechanisms of solving their problems. This move leads to gang formation within the prison (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). The poor attitudes may also affect the correction of prisoners within the prison, with the prisoners being radicalized instead of being reformed. When the prison workers are poorly motivated, they are not able to carry out activities that are aimed at transforming the prisoners. They may turn out to be worse than when they got into prison. Therefore, the prison may end up being a training ground for the state hardcore criminals.

Importance of Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is important within the prison discussed above in a number of ways. Job satisfaction can easily be defined as the degree to which employees like their work (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). Some of the factors affecting the satisfaction of employees include the pay grade, the leadership they work under, the working conditions, the promotion process in their institution, the social relationships at the workplace, and the nature of the job itself (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). The attitudes held by employees are also important in determining their satisfaction. The prison system has been described in the past as being a place where employees have poor satisfaction.

In the discussed prison, employee satisfaction is important since it affects the willingness of employees to perform their job. When the staff members are satisfied in this prison, they work for the hours required in the organization, as opposed to unsatisfied workers who spend more time away from the prison doing their own activities. The satisfaction of staff members in the prison also determines the collaboration that they keep among themselves. This collaboration directly affects their output. Employees are able to deal with stressful conditions in prison, with the results of this strategy including cooperation on the side of prisoners. Staff satisfaction also determines whether the goals of the institution are achieved. Satisfied workers are more likely to work towards achieving the organizational goals (Robbins, & Judge, 2007).

The prison management has the role of determining whether the staff is motivated. To achieve this goal, they may use many indicators. One important measure of satisfaction within the prison is the working duration of the staff. Employees who are satisfied at the workplace are less likely to fail to report working without adequate reason while unsatisfied workers often fail to report to their workstations (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). Another indicator of satisfaction that can be used to alert the prison management of poor satisfaction among employees in prison is the misuse or abuse of drugs (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). While the use of drugs at the workplace may be caused by a number of factors, it is also a recognized indicator of poor job satisfaction.

Ethical Decision Criteria

When making ethical choices, three ethical decision criteria can be used. These include the use of the utilitarian criterion, the focusing of rights in ethical choice making, or focus on justice (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). In addressing the problems at the prison, the choice of ethical decision criterion that fits the prison is the use of justice. In this criterion, the rules in the organization are enforced fairly, impartially, and equally (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). The criterion also demands the members and employees to be treated equitably and in a just manner. Thought the prison staff members have demonstrated some disparities in their work performance, the criterion should ensure that they get fair treatment while making any decision.

The prison staff members are divided along racial lines in their operations. They often interfere with the operations at the facility, with some of them collaborating with prisoners in committing crimes within the prison. The first step should be to develop strict rules for any of the staff members involved in illegal activities with the prisoners in the effort to enforce the rules equally. However, the criterion demands justice to be practiced. Therefore, staff members will be accorded the necessary justice before disciplining. The criterion will also eliminate any favoritism in dealing with the prison staff that is reportedly split along racial and ethical lines.

The justice criterion will also be selected because it allows management to teach the staff people to exercise the same in their interaction (Robbins, & Judge, 2007). The prison staff members are reported to favor prisoners who are of their own ethical background. As a result, the other prisoners from other ethical backgrounds end up suffering or being overworked as a compensation for the ‘privileged’ prisoners work. The application of this criterion will also be beneficial to them, as they will also be required to treat the prisoners with equity and justice without favoring any ethnicity or race. The staff members will also be disciplined with justice and without any preference. They will also undergo training on the use of the same in their interactions with the prisoners and among themselves. Therefore, this criterion will fit best in addressing the problems that are described in the prison.

Performance and Social Arrangement Norms

Norms are “acceptable standards of behavior within a group that are shared by the group’s members” (Robbins, 2003, p. 220). Performance norms are a known influence on the productivity of employees at the workplace since they govern how employees should be treated or engaged at the workplace (Robbins, 2003, p. 223). On the other hand, Robbins (2003) describes social arrangement norms as having little influence on the productivity of a group in terms of the social interactions that the group members have in activities such as having dinners or cups of coffee. The two types of norms are among the four major types that Robbins described as being a source of influence on employee performance (Robbins, 2003).

These norms are likely to affect the overall job satisfaction at the prison in a number of ways. Employees may use these norms to create groupings that affect their satisfaction through the creation of negative attitudes such as in the prison above. The staff members may be the causes of negative influence on each other, with this situation leading to poor motivation among themselves. Job satisfaction influences employee productivity and the manner in which employees perform their job. In a prison system, just like in any other organization, poor employee satisfaction can have negative implications on the security of the installations and prisoners. However, the performance norms may be the causes of positive motivation, thus causing the employees to look forward to working in prison because of e support from their fellow staff members. This situation may be a source of increased job satisfaction among these staff members. Therefore, the performance and social arrangement norms may affect the satisfaction of the prison staff members in a positive or negative manner.

Employees that are not conforming to personality to the existing performance and social arrangement norms maybe affected differently. The major effect is that they may end up secluding themselves. As a result, they have reduced motivation at the workplace. Their overall job satisfaction is likely to decrease, with some of them requesting for transfers or preferring to stay away from the workplace. The relevant changes that the management should institute include training staff and encouraging teamwork to develop the norms within the workforce.

Ethical Behavior

Managing Ethical Behavior

Modern criminal justice managers want to promote ethical behaviors in their organizations. Prison wardens are trained on ensuring that the staff people working under them are satisfied and working as a team. The prison on which the essay focuses has numerous incidents of altercations, riots, and gang violence. Leaders can manage moral behavior in an organization in three main ways. According to Van den Akker, Heres, Lasthuizen, and Six (2009), they can use rewards and discipline, role modeling, and the use of communication about ethics and values. In reward and discipline, leaders may use the reward the morally appreciative conduct in employees, while punishing the officers and staff people who are found to deviate from the moral standards (Van den Akker et al., 2009). An example is the policy in the United States, especially the New York Police Department (NYPD) that regularly awards officers that are found to have the desired workplace morals and/or acted in the best ethical manner.

Role modeling is the process by which managers in the specific organization demonstrate the ethical behavior that other members are expected to work with and set good examples of the same (Van den Akker et al., 2009). The morals demonstrated by leaders should be factored when selecting them, as leaders are the main sources of guidance for the employees under them. In the NYPD, leaders are supposed to act within the stipulated conduct rules. They are supposed to be role models for their officers. They are also required to act within the laws of the department and the country, with those that are not able to do so being recommended for stringent actions.

The other way that leaders may influence the morals of their employees is through communication about ethics and values to their staff people (Van den Akker et al., 2009). Leaders should be able to communicate these values to their staff members. They should also be able to facilitate communication among the employees on the same. Using the NYPD as a law enforcement agency, the leaders in the various departments often organize functions where the employees may be briefed on the organization’s morals and values. This strategy is successful in most instances, with improvements being noted in the morals of the officers with time after participation in such programs.

Other Countries

The management theories discussed above are not restricted to the United States alone. They are applicable in almost all other regions of the world. The prison systems are areas where ethnic and racial differences among the employees play out mainly in areas such as the US where there are population diversities. The described approaches and theories are similar in the other nations in the world. An example that can be demonstrated is in the British penal system. Employees in these institutions are also diverse in most areas, with the leadership playing key roles in the encouragement of appropriate organizational ethics. The United States is special because most of the institutions have multiple races and ethnicities that constantly experience the same problems experienced by the prison under discussion.

Leaders in any organization around the world are recognized as important sources of motivation to their employees. They are supposed to enforce the required morals and ethics. The staff members have problems with their ethnic identity. They arrange themselves according to racial groupings. A diversity training organized by the institution had negative results, with the staff being polarized. In the British system, leaders have the mandate of organizing team activities for their employees and communicating the roles that each should play in the realization of the organizational goals. Therefore, the management used in this country is not different from that in use in the United States and/or described in the essay.

The management theories are also widely applied in the German system. There has been considerable success in the use of the practice in the region as a whole. The ethical theories have been applied for longer, with employees in the country being among the most satisfied in the world. The leadership is recognized as playing a key role in managing employee job satisfaction. Frequent training sessions for leaders in the country to ensure that they instill ethics in their staff. The management theories discussed are relevant in this country just like in any other part of the world. Their application is likely to have positive results. In the prison discussed, the concepts should enable the management to contain the staff problems that are being experienced.

Reference List

Robbins, P. (2003). Organizational behavior. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, NJ: Patience Hall.

Robbins, P., & Judge, T. (2007). Organizational behavior. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, NJ: Pearson/Patience Hall.

Van den Akker, L., Heres, L., Lasthuizen, K. & Six, F. (2009). Ethical leadership and trust: It’s all about meeting Expectations. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(2), 102-122.

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