When you return from a business trip or conference, you’ll likely be expected to document your activities and share what you accomplished or learned. The biggest mistake you can make here is to write it in narrative or chronological style. Narrative style usually means you’re using a lot of “I” statements (e.g. I arrived at the tech conference at 9 am to register and participate in a meet and great. Then, I attended the first workshop). You do not want to adopt this style of writing. Instead, be considerate of your reader and categorize information from the audience’s perspective – by the results you achieved, what you learned, what you observed, or the people you interacted with. Or, in our case, by vocabulary, dress code, behavior, and values.
For this assignment, I want you to “take a trip” to a professional setting in order to observe and consider the behavioral norms of people in it and the values they reflect. It’s important to be aware of (and probably adapt to) the behavioral norms of one’s workplace to better serve your employer, clients, and co-workers. Just like how the personalities of the companies will differ, the behavioral norms (value systems, expected behavior, vocabulary) will also differ.
For example, a college classroom has its own behavioral norms, and in order to adapt and function within the classroom, one must manifest certain behaviors and adopt an identity kit of sorts. Perhaps most importantly, behavioral norms form as a result of value systems or common objective. In other words, most everything, from the dress code to the daily interactions that occur within the operations, is a reflection of the value system that lies beneath. Behavioral norms will often be significantly different from each other. For example, the behavioral norms of a workplace will be different than those of a place of worship. And, even within these behavioral norms, there are sub-norms, as different work environments contain different penalties.
This assignment will require you to do some firsthand research and observe (or take a trip to) a workplace.
To study the behavioral norms of a workplace and make inferences about the behavioral norms of this setting. You must list the specific workplace you’re observing.
I’d like you to detail the facts of the behavioral norms of this setting. Some things you can look for:
Vocabulary – is there a set of vocabulary one would have to know to function in this setting.
Behaviors – how should people in this setting conduct themselves? What is expected of those engaging in this setting? Is it an easygoing environment? Is it a bit more conservative? What’s the general mode like?
Dress code – what kind of uniform (if any) would one need, in order to navigate this discourse? Is there a formal dress-code upheld? Is it a more casual atmosphere where formal dress would be laughed at?
Feel free to list any other observations you make about what will comprise the “identity kit” that’s needed to exist in this setting.
For every observation, try and think about what values the observation reflects? What does this discourse value? How do things like the dress-code, the vocabulary, the expected behavior reflect these values?
With regards to the last bullet point, when you make inference into what values/goals the observations represent, it may be helpful to think about what the discourse values as a whole are. For example, if we think about a discourse like the military, it’s likely accurate to say the discourse values discipline, uniformity, order, hierarchy, etc.
Formatting: This report should be single spaced, include paragraph breaks between paragraphs, make effective use of the formatting tools available to you (bold, italics, headings, etc.), and be organized in a way that is easy to read and understand.
Adapted from an assignment created by Paul Glanting