Mental Detachment from Work and Speaking Up to Supervisors
Mental Attachment to WorkBefore mental detachment is described, first mental attachment will be defined. Mental attachment is when an employee feels particularly attached and identified with the organization. While related to having better relationships with one’s supervisors, feelings of attachment to one’s workplace do not automatically lead to a greater frequency of speaking up about workplace issues. This is because many people like their workplaces for some of the same reasons that make the workplace ineffective. That is, some people are attached to their work because a faulty status quo actually works in their favor.
Mental Detachment from WorkOn the other hand, having a negative view of a supervisor’s leadership abilities or feeling that one’s supervisor is abusive results in employees having a greater desire to quit their jobs, also known as mental detachment. Employees essentially stop caring about what happens at the organization, which contributes to their not voicing about potential improvements or problems.
Implications for PracticeHere are a few suggestions for how to prevent mental detachment from occurring with your employees while also promoting speaking up to supervisors.
- Encourage feedback on what is and is not working from employees. Outlets for feedback may include a suggestion box, a hotline-type system, and an “open door” policy where individuals can feel free to communicate with their supervisors.
- Take steps to improve the quality of relationships between employees and their supervisors.
- Enact procedures to reduce and eliminate supervisors’ abuse of employees.
- Be proactive in encouraging and rewarding employees for challengingineffectiveness in your organization’s status quo.
DeGarmo GroupThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Burris, E.R., Detert, J.R., & Chiaburu, D.S. (2008). Quitting before leaving: The mediating effects of psychological attachment and detachment on voice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 912-922.