People do not take kindly to being told what to do.
Successful change begins with a dialogue. That conversation continues characterized the process. It is shaped by close listening, continuous learning, and responsiveness. People share their experiences and attend to one another.
Automatic pilot is not an approved technology for managing change.
When reviewing research on burnout interventions, I was struck by an inherent contradiction. One the one hand, a clinical trials model rests upon standardization. The process must be implemented in exactly the same way across a variety of groups. Secondly, a double blind study—the highest standard of clinical trial—requires that participants do not know whether they are in the intervention or the placebo control group.
On the other hand, successful group initiatives are local. The participants actively participate in designing, implementing, and evaluating the process. They are not mindless players in someone else’s game.
The inherent contradiction may be one reason there has been so little research on addressing workplace issues, such as stress, burnout, or incivility. The standards necessary to gain funding and opportunities to conduct the research are at odds with the qualities necessary for a successful process.
Creative researchers are finding ways to work around this conflict, but one hopes for a smoother road to supporting research that sincerely strives to make a difference in developing more resilient workgroups.
How would you resolve this puzzle?
Dear Dr. Leiter:
In my experience, the problem has been the gap between the researcher and the group. Most of the studies are implemented by external instances. They need to have information in a very artificial way, and sometimes does’t arrive to know some historical data that modifies the whole psychosocial environment. Workers cannot recognize themselves in the new “cientific” version and neither with the actions proposed by the researcher.
I think it is a matter of education, we need to promote knowledge about psychosocial factors in order to have a more conscious participation and critic form workers, and to have evaluations of a more significative indicators within a worklife.
Thank you for your perspective on this. I agree that too often researchers become so absorbed in their process they forget about connecting with the people. It is so important to have collaboration throughout. It’s also important for the group to remain open to receiving feedback on their situation.