The low-morale experience is one that moves through several stages, starting with a trigger event, moving forward to long-term exposure to instances of abuse and neglect, and then hopefully, successful resolution or mitigation. While the experience is launched by individual behaviors, it is also influenced and further propelled by external or internal factors and wide-spread systems – some of which are in place ostensibly to prevent abuse and neglect at work.
Formally defined in my 2017 study, impact factors (IF) are events or contexts that influence a low-morale experience from the beginning through its resolution. There are two impact factors that manifest:
- Insidiousness experience development (Insidiousness) – the experience is slow-moving/ people don’t realize quickly enough that they are being systematically abused or neglected.
- Contagion – low-morale victims realize that co-workers are also being abused, and/or they begin enacting abuse/neglect on others
Impact factors include enabling systems (ES), which are individual behaviors or organizational cultures, structures, policies, or ethoses that inadvertently enforce or underpin low-morale experiences. Also revealed in the 2017 study, these systems include:
- Leadership Styles
- Staffing & Employment
- Promotion & Tenure
- Perceptions of Librarians/the LIS field
- Human Resources Limitations
- Uncertainty & Mistrust
In my subsequent studies, I discovered more impact factors and systems that intensify low-morale experiences for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) academic librarians and public librarians. Succinctly, BIPOC experience 2 additional impact factors (including Stereotype Threat) and 8 additional enabling systems (including Racism, & Oppressed Group Behavior). Public librarians experience 3 additional impact factors (like Personal Safety) and 7 more enabling systems (including Policies, Training, and Politics).
Learn more about how these factors and systems connect by visiting the links.
As you review the impact factors and enabling systems, do any apply to a low-morale experience you’ve faced?