Week 2: Tea with the Tooth Fairy and Background Research

Kashish S -

Hello Again! This past week, I continued to do more research into background literature. One article in particular, stood out to me. This study, performed at the Education University of Hong Kong, examined how job autonomy and independence played a role in workplace wellbeing. The study defined job autonomy as “the extent to which employees can decide how and what to do in their workplace” (Wai Li 2). In order to assess how levels of job autonomy affected wellbeing in the workplace, researchers asked participants a series of questions regarding depression, job autonomy, percieved control, and job strain, and analyzed the answers to form a conclusion that “the negative effect of depression on job strain was weaker when employees perceived greater job autonomy,” or that when employees felt more in control or more independent (individualistic tendencies), their individualism helped them mitigate job strain and stress, leading to overall more positive wellbeing (Wai Li 4). This study was very intriguing, as it focused on how individualism affected workplace wellbeing, while most articles focus on the relationship between collectivism and wellbeing in the workplace. The study also helped characterize individualistic traits as more geared towards independency rather than social isolation, which is helping me as I attempt to define and elaborate on the different traits of individualism and collectivism.

Further, this week, while I was at my site placement, I was able to help plan things for the Read It and Eat program that Native Health offers. This event happens once a month, and is a children’s program where the kids listen to a story, make food, and do a craft. This time was about dental hygeine and dental health awareness, so the craft was a tooth pillow. Here’s a picture of one of the pillows; they looked so cute!

Watching how these programs are designed and implemented has helped me realize the nuances and intricacies of the individualism-collectivism complex. Rather than 2 completely separate ideas, individualism and collectivism go hand in hand, as independence and autonomy were promoted through events like these, which also foster social bonds, or collectivistic qualities. It’s been super fascinating to see how these two ideas interact and work with each other in a real world setting.
Thank you for reading my post, and have a great week!

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    Hi Kashish, I love the picture and your reflection of how your site placement informs your research. Do you think that the concept of autonomy in the workplace is at all influenced by gender? In reading your research, I found myself wondering if autonomy in the workplace is something more attainable for specific groups. The lens of gender may be another framework to bring into your discussion.
    Hi Ms. Bennett, as of right now, most of the research I have seen centers around different cultures and workplace autonomy. However, some research has found that proponence of patriarchal beliefs has been linked to poor well-being in both men and women, so that might inform whether a more patriarchally structured or male-dominated workplace affects the workplace. That is definitely an interesting angle for me to explore more. Thank you!

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