Productivity in the workplace can not only be measured by a worker’s output, but by their behavior as well. An employee can have both productive and counterproductive behavior, which can affect their work, and others’ work. There are relationships between behaviors, plus organizational commitment and job satisfaction.

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Positive Organizational Behavior (POB), defined by “the study and application of positively oriented human resource strengths and psychological capacities that can be measured, developed, and effectively managed for performance improvement in today’s workplace” is seen as a key to productive behavior (Youssef and Luthans, 2007, pp 775). Hope, optimism and resilience are seen as productive traits, which can provide an employee seeing his job as an opportunity, broaden their perspectives, and cope when there are problems. (Youssef and Luthans).

Counterproductive traits can include personality traits such as low conscientiousness, low emotional stability and low agreeableness and at least 30 percent of all businesses believed to have failed is due to counterproductive behaviors (Instone, pp 3-4). An estimated 89 percent of employees have engaged in counterproductive behaviors at work (Instone). Counterproductive behavior can be in the commission of the job, such as employees during the subprime loan crisis (Instone pp. 3), or can even turn into violence. There are four types of workplace violence: 1. Criminal Intent, as in the commission of a crime such as robbery, 2. Customer or client violence, as in frustration of dealing with customers, 3. Co-worker violence, and 4. Relationship violence (Spector, Fox and Domagalski, pp. 30). Reducing emotional provocation and providing productive outlets are effective strategies, along with screening out potential employees during the selection process and having clear policies for behavior. (Spector, pp 39)

When it comes to job turnover, it appears that both satisfaction and commitment are related (Shore and Martin, 1989, pp 627). The consequences of job satisfaction affect organizational commitment, including better performance and a reduction in counterproductive behaviors (Lumley,, 2011, pp 101). As a consequence, companies are saying employees are their most valuable asset and are looking for ways to make the company attractive for them, so they can retain talent (Lumley).

In conclusion, companies that pay attention to ways that they can make work attractive for their employees can help make their workers more productive, and reduce counterproductive behavior. An attractive workplace can also increase job satisfaction, and help keep talented employees.

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  • Lumley E.J., Coetzee M., Tladinyane R., and Ferreira N., (2011). Exploring the Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment of Employees in the Information Technology Environment, South African Business Review; Vol. 15, No. 1, Retrieved from