Consensual Agreements for Cra In Reviewing the Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Consensual Agreements

FOR CRA: In reviewing the current literature on the issue about sexual intimacy on the job, one might wonder why people bother to go anywhere else for fun. It has become clear that sexuality and romance are significant in many contemporary workplaces, which means that businesses of all types have to begin to bring a discussion and specific responses to this issue home. More employees work either online or in businesses that depend on online activity. As such, few employees are far away from resources that involved open and frank discussions or that outright promote or advertise sexuality and romance.

In a future job I expect to work in a company that is connected to and encourages business innovation on the Internet. I would love to work with a Facebook or Twitter-type company where I could work with creative people and new technologies. A place like this will want to find employees who have special skills, and to get those people to come to their company they will have to allow them to be who they are. This would set up a work environment were having an appropriate, organizationally sensible Love Contract (or CRA) would make sense as companies deal with their employees or seek new employees who fit in to their environment (Pierce, et al., 2011:2). Under these circumstances, there is evidence that suggests a CRA will help ensure a sense of fairness and respect in the workplace. It will also be a vehicle for helping to put the ground rules of honesty on the table so everyone can see and experience what they mean in practice and take the issue out of the realm of legal challenges alone (Pierce et al., 2009). Most people who are technological wizards are familiar with and take User Agreements seriously. A CRA can be seen in the same way, except that it will spell out both the general rules of openness and respect as well as enable individuals who are involved in romantic or sexual relationships to be honest with what is happening. If the rules are spelled out first in this way and taken as part of the company's human resource activities, it may be harder for this to cause problems for the company or for the individuals involved. It does appear that proactive legal agreements do have a positive impact on protecting companies from harm (Lickey et al., 2009:101.)

Studies on organizational issues for the creative sector suggest that attracting and keeping good employees requires that the organization itself reflect the kinds of values it expects (Freeman and Stewart, 2006). This is particularly important in workplaces where teamwork and even distance working occurs, and perhaps even where employees make use of online chat sites to learn more about their products. While no one likes unfair or restrictive policies, the evidence suggests that if there are going to be policies about sexual and romantic issues, they should be fair and just (Pierce et al., 2011). This will make the workplace appear more fun and welcoming, and that will make the work better. I expect to work in such a setting and thus believe that having a User Agreement for Love Contracts makes sense and will help protect the company from many other discrimination or harassment problems. Contracts of this type are proactive and open for all to be aware of before problems develop (Lickey et al., 2009: 107). If this occurs, the employees are less likely to be concerned as well that their private elements of work will become an issue if love or romance happens.

AGAINST CRA: Society is becoming more openly sexual and romantic and so is the workplace. There is no getting around that. The use of and access to online dating or sex websites is one indication of this, but in many ways this just reflects how people are willing to have frank discussions in public online forums. Because of this, there is good reason to believe that the kinds of people that I expect to work with in a future technology job will be comfortable with these kinds of resources and will expect to be able to use them in their work. This should mean that they too will be more open and honest about even the most intimate elements of the work environment, including that dating and sexuality that happens. Because of this naturally occurring openness and honesty, I do not believe that a CRA is a good option. Instead, what is needed is the development of a fair and just environment using other practices that can be more easily seen and more often discussed in the open, if or when personal issues cross over to work topics. There is a good deal of information that suggest that romantic interactions alone are not the problem at work; instead, the problem comes when there is an unhealthy and even humiliating work environment that allows power and authority and even secrecy to hide abuse (Fisk, 2001). A CRA may feel open to some but too much of the time it can just cover up other more serious challenges.

There are a number of indicators that suggest how CRA's may fail to adequately address all problems of romance in the workplace (Jessen, 2005). They can be seen as intimidating and invasive to new employees, which means some people will not use them. It is also much concern that statements of the kind that discuss relationships will be used against certain employees more than others (unmarried more than married). Most Love Contracts are used to control relationships between employees of different levels of authority, and thus they are perceived as being biased in favor of higher-level administrators or special types of employees. This sense of unfairness does nothing to suggest that the company cares about all of its employees in an equal way (Lickey et al., 2009). The job place world be better if social, racial, gender and other types of injustice were dealt with across all parts of the business, even in small ways. In this way the topic will not be hidden in legal or other arrangements. Studies that show that even organizationally sensitive policies have to be either so lenient or so vague that they serve little usefulness as an agreement (Pierce et al., 2009). It would be better to have a stronger company environment that simply values fairness and justice at all levels (Freeman and Stewart, 2006).

CRA ETHICS: Sexuality and romance are morally intense issues (Jessen, 2005:3). This means that employees and employers will give a good deal of consideration to their importance as elements of the work structure, not just as topics of the underlying issues. Ethical issues are of the same nature. And there is plenty of evidence that suggests that for companies to be healthy ethically they have to have a strong and pervasive set of operational and management values.

Sexuality and romance offer many opportunities for companies to make ethical mistakes. Companies are fearful of having open discussions about them, and very concerned about bringing the issue up for fear of employees thinking the company is suggesting something negative about them (Lickey, et al., 2009). There is also the issue of the fact that sexuality and romance are not always dealt with across all levels of authority. Most policies focus on single individuals, and most focus on relationships between lower- and higher-level staff. This ignores many other types of relationships between the people who work closely together, and it hides the kind of activities that are often seen as most inappropriate -- relationships between or involving a married employee. It is also very much the case that these most secretive of activities will be the ones that could lead to unfair benefits to one employee based on that relationship instead of based on merit. Unfair pay, unfair opportunities, unfair impact on business or product opportunities can hurt a company's reputation and set it up for major legal and reputational concerns. An ethical business assumes a stronger set of values in a company, including values that top management not only endorses but also practice and make clear (Freeman and Stewart, 2006). Any types of understandings about consensual sexuality or romance have to account for this if they are going to be effective and protect the company.

CONNECTIVITY AGREEMENTS: People in workplaces use new technologies to their advantages. They also use and sometimes abuse interpersonal relationships for work advantage. As such, why should the issue of how we connect with each other in face-to-face or through Internet connectivity be seen so differently? If a company created a set of policies or rights governing how people can connect with others during work hours -- in fair and respectful ways -- the issues relating to sexuality and romance could be discussed at the same time. A Connectivity User Agreement could not only include these topics but could do so in ways that make it evident that the company recognizes how these issues…

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