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Ethnography Research Proposal


Boredom in workplace forms part of the job experience making it inevitable from any organizational setting. Workplace boredom is associated with negative individual and organizational performance. Most studies have focused on other issues that affect the performance of an organization such as stress, satisfaction, and motivation with minimal emphasis on boredom, yet it is also a major concept of human emotion. This presents the need for the proposed study that focuses on determining the causes of boredom in an organization set-up.

Problem Statement

The consequences of boredom are not only detrimental to the employees and the organization. Low quality of life, life strain, reduced level of job satisfaction and counterproductive work behavior are some of the negative effects associated with boredom. Moreover, boredom is linked with lower job performance that has a direct negative impact on the profitability and overall performance of the organization. Exploring the causes of boredom is an initial step towards managing the problem to reduce its occurrence within the organization. Since the chances of complete elimination of boredom in an organization are limited, it is important that the causes are averted to reduce the probable adverse consequences on the organization (Cummings, Fei Kris). Thornburg. Also, the cause of boredom is likely to vary from one organizational setting to the next. As such, it is thus important to explore the causes of boredom focusing on specific cases, to ensure its proper management within the chosen organization is attained.

Research Goal

The goal of the proposed research is to explore the causes of boredom and Identify strategies that can be adopted to eradicate boredom in the workplace

Research Questions

  1. What are the causes of boredom in the workplace?
  2. How does monotony influence boredom in the workplace?
  3. How can organizations deal with boredom in the workplace?

Research Model

The proposed study will be an ethnographic study, qualitative research that focuses on studying the research participants in their real setting. The idea of an ethnographic study is to uncover the issues or problems encountered by the subjects in their daily activities. The proposed study will focus on exploring the concept of boredom in the context of an organizational setting making an ethnographic approach to the study the most appropriate.

The study participants will consist of employees drawn from different organizations. Moreover, human resource managers from the various organizations will also be included in the study to gather their expert opinions on the subject matter. Interviews will be used in collecting the data from the chosen study participants. The resulting qualitative data will be analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological approach where the meanings of the responses provided other than their frequencies will form the final findings of the proposed study.

Delimitation of the Study

Boredom is an emotional feeling that is likely not to be static throughout the encounters of an employee. Employees can feel bored at a given time and happy in the next minute. While it is expected that the aspect of time will be taken into consideration in the evaluation of boredom in the workplace, the proposed study will focus on exploring the levels of boredom as reported by the chosen study participants without focusing on any specific time.

Important Unit of Analysis

The important units of analysis refer to the “who” or “what” is being studied. The proposed study will focus on establishing the experience of the employees on boredom and the causes and probable mitigation strategies of the issue in the workplace. As such the most significant unit of analysis is the employees drawn from different organizations. Also, the managers to the respective organizations are considered a vital unit of analysis.

Critical Review of Literature

The research on boredom within the workplace has been in the academic realm for a long time now. As at the 19th-century scholars warned of the possible increase in boredom for workers in the years that will see the emergence of the machine culture. More than 100 years, later, practical cases of boredom are reported in organizations (Cummings, Fei and Kris 383). Thornburg. The implications are adverse effects and negative consequences on the performance of the organization. According to Loukidou, Loan‐Clarke, and Kevin organizations dealing with process control management of a plant, vehicle operation management, and anesthetics administration are most likely to report severe loses or damages when dealing with a bored workforce (382). Previous studies have reported that boredom is linked with the health of an individual; cases of cardiovascular illnesses, anxiety or depression. Boredom in an organization that emphasizes safety is of critical concern. Boredom is thus likely to cause significant damages to an organization if not well-managed.

The major causes of boredom

Different scholars have focused on evaluating the factors that cause boredom amongst employees in an organization. According to Game the antecedents of boredom that are believed to cause the emotional boredom have been categorized into individual differences, social context, goals, and job-related factors. These factors such as the working conditions in the organization, policies and management strategies can cause boredom. Similarly, other individual characteristics such as monotony in the mind of an individual, desire for novelty and lack of autonomy amongst others are some of the individual difference factors that are reported to cause boredom (Cummings, Fei and Kris). Strategies should thus focus on addressing the identified probable causes of boredom in order to prevent its adverse effects on an individual and the company.

The Significance of the Proposed Study

The findings of the proposed will be beneficial to the employees, the organization and the society at large. To the employees, the findings on the measures for mitigation of boredom will assist them to improve their health and well-being as well as performance in the organization of placement. To the organizations included in the study, the findings will be important in assisting in the effective management of the business operations and activities.

Ethical Issues worth Consideration

The researcher will interact directly with the study participants as such; there are certainly ethical issues that must be taken into consideration. First, the researcher will avail informed consent to all participants to get their consent on their willingness to be involved in the study. Moreover, the confidentiality of the information provided by the participants, and their anonymity will be protected during your visit.

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