Developmental Job Experience Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Business and Management Journal

There is much controversy with regard to developmental job experience (DJE) and the degree to which it plays a significant role in a person's behavior and success in the workplace. "NO PAIN, NO GAIN: AN AFFECT-BASED MODEL OF DEVELOPMENTAL JOB EXPERIENCE AND THE BUFFERING EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE" addresses this topic thoroughly and attempts to determine whether or not can actually have a positive effect on an individual in the context of his or her experience in the work environment. The article is meant to provide readers with a more complex understanding of the concept and of the attitudes one should employ with regard to it.

In order to be able to get actively involved in a DJE process, a person would have to be willing to go through great efforts and to show a significant amount of determination in achieving his or her goals in the workplace. Yuntao Dong, Myeong-gu Seo, and Kathryn M. Bartol relate to DJE as being "an individual's experience of carrying out demanding work assignments that offer opportunities for learning and broadening his or her leadership competences in areas such as business knowledge, insightfulness, decision-making skills, and interpersonal effectiveness." (1058)

The study is aimed at providing a more complex explanation of the complexity associated with DJE. People typically have a one-sided opinion with regard to DJE and it is thus essential for them to see the bigger picture and to understand the series of elements that are behind such a process. DJE can essentially be both good and bad in a company, as it largely depends on how each employee perceives it. The fact that some people can feel pressured by it makes it difficult for them to acknowledge the benefits they are getting as a consequence of interacting with it and can thus render these respective individuals less effective than they were before.

Emotional intelligence (EI) can make the difference between a person who benefits from having access to DJE and one who does not. EI relates to a person's ability to observe both personal feelings and the feelings of other people, to differentiate between them, and to act in accordance with a rationale based on these respective feelings. The study uses three means of providing readers with a more complex understanding of DJE (Dong, Seo, & Bartol 1057):

Firstly, it attempts to analyze both positive and negative influences of DJE with the purpose of showing affective explanation as being as important as cognitive explanation.

Secondly, it uses the previous point as a way to create a link between DJE and how individuals either benefit or experience problems as a consequence of coming in contact with it.

Thirdly, the study concentrates on EI as being one of the principal elements that assist a person in overcoming unpleasant feelings associated with implementing a DJE process.


DJE is typically associated with positive influences on individuals because it has the tendency to make some employees feel better about themselves and thus more probable to express interest in progress. Most theories promoting DJE relate to how it provides employees with environments that support their learning process. As a consequence, many individuals who go through such experiences feel that their only solution would be to learn as much as possible during the process. These respective people are provided with the opportunity to observe the likeliness that the process is going to have a particularly positive experience on their lives and thus accept the series of difficulties coming along.

In contrast to situations when DJE actually has a positive effect on people, in other cases it can be especially detrimental for a company as a whole. Individuals working there might feel pressured and can consider that it would be best for them to leave the company in order to avoid a demanding work environment. "Developmental assignments are likely to create stressful task demands by placing employees in dynamic and exigent work settings." (Dong, Seo, & Bartol 1058) While some might interpret such attitudes as having a positive effect on determined employees, the reality is that even some of the most hard-working people might feel stressed as a consequence of observing the risks they are encouraged to take in order to help the company progress.

Quantitative Methods and Analysis

Job experience is obviously significant when considering a person's ability to progress and individuals with more experience are more probable to be effective in the workplace in comparison to persons who have a limited experience. Even with this, experience can be of lesser importance in some cases -- in many situations experience dictated performance in jobs of a lower complexity while it had little to no influence on jobs of a high complexity. This is largely because experience typically only makes a difference in jobs that are not really complex, as it is often the only way to get prepared for such a job. In more complex work environments education can compensate for experience and individuals can thus get hired on account of their knowledge rather than on account of their previous work places (Jex & Britt 113).

The tasks that a person needs to take on while working largely determine the respective individual's experience. "When experience has high density, the employee is exposed to many developmental experiences in a relative short amount of time." (Jex & Britt 113) By having more responsibilities in the workplace, many individuals are probable to feel stressed and consider that the conditions they are working in are too demanding. Having more responsibilities is not always equivalent to learning more, as in some cases these respective experiences can be too much for a person and he or she might actually suffer as a consequence of the enterprise. A developmental experience can largely be a combination of time associated with, amount, and difficulty of the responsibilities that an individual has.

Gender plays an important role when considering DJE and findings (Bilimoria 120) showed that female managers are usually likely to experience more job demands than men and that they can learn more from them. According to Bilimoria (120), the study involved 106 women in a managerial position and 146 men in managerial positions. "Women scored higher than men on six scales (lack of top management support; lack of strategic direction; conflict with boss; downsizing/reorganization; achieving goals through personal influence; and establishing personal credibility)." It appears that the only scale on which men scored higher related to the role of the supportive boss, as their managers seemed inclined to put across more supportive attitudes toward them.

The idea of gender as being especially important in the workplace has been addressed in a series of occasions. By relating to it in parallel to the concept of DJE, one is probable to gain a more complex understanding of why and how particular women are provided with more responsibilities and with less support by their employers. "A variety of explanations for the dearth of women in executive positions has been presented, ranging from personality differences to discrimination by white men in positions of power." (Ohlott, Ruderman, & McCauley 46) Taking this into account, some might feel inclined to claim that women being provided with more responsibilities than men while they try to progress in the work environment might also be a reason for which male managers are typically more successful than female managers.

DJE provides individuals with the ability to experience personal change while coming into contact with roles, responsibilities, and missions that are related to their workplace. The knowledge a person accumulates as a consequence of being in direct contact with his or her workplace can have a particularly positive effect on them. Even in cases when this respective experience is stressful, persons can still see a sort of improvement that can help them in the future.

When regarding things from a point-of-view involving a manager, it would be safe to say that workplace experience is often the most important element that a manager could benefit from. While education is also especially important when considering jobs with a high complexity, managerial positions typically require on-the-job experience. These types of jobs need individuals who are well-acquainted with interpersonal relations and with the correct attitudes they should take in situations that are challenging.

The AT&T Longitudinal Studies of Managers project was devised in the early 1950s and observed a series of managers from companies related to Bell Systems. The project was meant to assess how these managers responded to challenges and the effects that challenges had on their careers. As previously mentioned, the amount of responsibilities an individual comes across in his or her workplace is essential in determining the way that the person develops professionally. "For example, sixty-one percent of the college recruits who were predicted to fail to reach middle management actually made it to middle management eight years later if they had high job challenge." (McCauley & Brutus 5) Even with the fact that this project does not necessarily prove that having a…

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