The power of symbolism: The impact symbols on motivation and job satisfaction in the workplace

Student Researchers: Annabelle Afan
Supervisor: Dr Graeme Ditchburn
Ethics approval: 2013/077

Rapid changes in technology have replaced certain job tasks, creating a work environment which is repetitive and un-stimulating. As a result, managers are constantly looking for techniques to improve their employees’ motivation and job satisfaction. Innovative workplace practices have been linked to high performing organizations that create a sense of ‘well-being’, ‘belongingness’ and ‘job satisfaction’. Workplace environments in particular have been reported to influence employees’ behavior. Symbols utilized in the workplace have also been reported to shape and even direct desirable behavior. Although the use of symbols and workplace redesign has become a popular method to increase job performance, little is known about how these changes in the work environment effects employees’ emotional states. This study investigates the potential effects a happy face symbol in the workplace may have on employees and if this environmental change influences psychological states such as positive affect, motivation and job satisfaction. Furthermore how these psychological states can possibly affect each other.