September 2018 news

Read news releases and research items from our September 2018 newsletter.

Research Update: Generation Y’s expectations for ethics at work in New Zealand

Hege Oevreboe—Thesis for Master of Commerce, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

This research, undertaken to complete a Master of Commerce thesis, aimed to explore Generation Y's attitudes for work with a focus on the underlying values that drive ethics at work. It is important for organisations to understand Gen Y’s expectations of work if they wish to attract and retain young talent, as well as for minimising intergenerational conflicts. Awareness and understanding of the new workforce’s values makes it easier to gain an increased person-organisation fit to drive productivity and commitment (Winter & Jackson, 2016), whilst a ‘values misfit’ is considered a push-factor for employees leaving the organisation (Van der Wal, 2017).

Research update: job burnout among call centre customer service professionals

Dr Shilpa S. Jain, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

This study examined job burnout in the service sector in India with the sample comprising 303 customer service professionals from eight voice-based call centres in 2 major cities of India. Customer service representatives, as with other human service professionals, experience high levels of burnout as they typically have frequent and intense interactions with many people (Cordes and Dougherty, 1993).

While the study has been conducted in the Asian context, nonetheless, it is an important area of research and practice in the New Zealand context, with implications for workplaces here. The Wellness in the Workplace Survey Report (2017), notes that recent changes to health and safety legislation have seen a change in mindset towards safeguarding staff safety, but. safeguarding staff health has been a lesser concern, even though this is an area where much can be done in a positive and low-cost fashion, particularly around stress, fatigue and anxiety.

Research review: The risks of ill-informed workplace wellness programmes

Esme Franken, PhD candidate, School of Management, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Wellness programmes have become increasingly popular workplace initiatives - probably as part of the wider wellness movement (Walsh, Jennings, Mangione, and Merrigan, 1991). A typical wellness programme provides weight-loss and diet programmes, workplace exercise facilities, gym membership discounts, health coaching, and health promotion events (Mills, Kessler, Cooper, and Sullivan, 2007). The common rationale for them is that “healthy employees have higher productivity than unhealthy employees” (Healey and Marchese, 2005). There is some evidence that they do reduce health risks and improve quality of life (Zula, Yarrish, and Lee, 2013). But are they really that effective for those they are purported to serve—employees?

Management of gender equity research report released

Dr Noelle Donnelly, lead researcher of the 'Changing nature of work and workforce' stream of research at CLEW, has co-authored a report 'The role of middle managers in progressing gender equity'. The report, a collaboration by researchers at Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) was released this week and shows significant barriers remain in the role of middle managers in progressing gender equity in the public service. The team of researchers conducted interviews with senior executives and middle managers from four public service agencies in New Zealand.

The report shows middle managers report ongoing challenges in balancing the needs of individuals with organisational requirements and highlights the need to develop coordinated gender equity strategies within agencies.

Donnelly, N., Parker, J., Douglas, J., Ravenswood, K. and Weatherall, R. (2018), The role of middle managers in progressing gender equity.