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Organizational Skills

This is an essay I wrote about risk management for organizations in my Conflict in Communication class.



Nick Palmer
Dr. Smith

April 10, 2008


                                Organizational Well-Being

        A fraternity house is also a home. This is something many people forget when they think about a fraternity house. It is a place where much business is conducted, social events are held and rituals take place. “A chapter house has, from time to time, many guest – particularly faculty, parents, alumni and national offices” (The Varlet). This place of business and lodging must be kept in good order at all times. There are many ways fraternities and sororities make their houses a safer place. 
Organizational Safety:
        Organizations do many things to keep their workplace safe. The notebook states on page 155 that the number one cause for injuries in the work place is overexertion. Many companies as well as the State and Federal Government limit the hours of work to prevent this from occurring. Not everyone follows these laws. By law, truck drivers can work for 14 hours but must have a 10 hour break following no matter how many miles they had driven during their work period ( That in itself sounds like a lot, but many drivers go far beyond the legal limits so they can make more money. This leads to many overexerted drivers on the road which can produce to deadly consequences.    
        This is just one of many industries where this occurs. Just think about construction workers who are pushed to finish a project before a certain date and the machinery they operate. This lack of sleep and overexertion leads to another problem in the workplace, substance abuse.
Substance Abuse:
        Amphetamines are just one drug many people take to stay awake to work more. Truck drivers use them so they can drive longer and make more money; college students use them to pull the “all nighter” so they can cram for their final exam. On page 178 of the notebook it states some of the warning signs of substance abuse, such as depression, overconfidence, and dishonesty.   One warning sign the notebook fails to state, especially with amphetamines, is loss of appetite and loss of weight. Many college students will loose five to ten pounds during finals week by overtaking caffeine pills and the popular prescription drug Adderall. 
        The notebook states that in 2001 there were 5900 deaths in the workplace, of those deaths, 639 were homicides (p 142). Work related violence usually falls into four categories. The first, criminal intent, which take up 77% of workplace deaths, is usually in the form of robbery. This is followed by worker on worker, customer
Workplace Violence: or client, and personal relationships.
        Many organizations take numerous steps to arm themselves against violence in the workplace. Gas stations and convenience stores hire security guards and many companies in the professional setting offer educational programming on how to prevent violence and what to do if it occurs.
My Organization:
        My organization on campus does an exceptional job of keeping our fraternity house a safe place. There are many measures that take place in order to do this. The first is educational programming. The chapter is required by KA National Law to have at least one course on the Risk Management Policy every semester conducted by a national officer. This is a great way to get everyone on the same page with no discrepancies. 
Potential Misfortunes:   
          There is always a potential for violence on Greek row, but this has dramatically decreased in the last 4 years. There is strong competitive nature between the fraternities, but for the most part, the organizations stick together. 
        Robberies sometimes happen. Many times they are just pranks form rival fraternity men but recently there wan an employee of the university who was caught steeling property. He was able to do so because he has the master key for Greek Row. The buildings on the row, for the most part, are very secure. Every door automatically locks and you must either have a key, or a code to get in.
        Accidents and injuries do happen, fortunately we are insured. The Risk Management Policy was written by the insurance company FIPG. It is very strict, but if the policy is being follow at the time of the accident insurance will cover the cost. It will not cover drunken injuries that occur. To prevent members from injury, there are many by-laws for safety at the house such as “No person shall be allowed on the roof except by permission of the No. I (president) or House Manager” (Delta Lambda By-Laws).
        Kappa Alpha also has many programs to prevent death. A lot of this goes back to educational programming about alcohol abuse. The chapter did loose a brother in a alcohol related car crash in the late 1990’s. After this tragedy, the chapter created a strict designator driver system that is still in effect today. 
        When you live with 23 college fraternity men there are high chances that another’s personal hygiene may pose a problem. Most of the time this is fixed by just asking the brother to shower, as stated earlier, there are many guest at a fraternity house including women, and of course a fraternity man wants to look good for the ladies, so most of the time this does not become to big of a problem.
        At the fraternity house smoking tobacco products inside is strictly prohibited as well as smoking any other illegal substance. Alcohol abuse has been a problem in the past, but currently it is not. Again, it goes back to our educational programs.
         Jessica Hennessee is a sales associate for Whipper Snappers, which is an up-scale children’s clothing store. There is no educational programming in the orientation about safety and health. The only thing she was told about it is how to set the alarm before she leaves. 
        Many times she is the only employee working which can be dangerous if the store was ever to get robbed. There is a very low risk for accidents and injuries, the job mainly consist of restocking clothes, working the register, and paperwork. Because she mostly works alone she does not have to worry about a coworker’s hygiene. Often customers will bring their children in the store when they are sick. This could potentially spread infection and disease in the workplace.
          It is hard for me to recommend anything for the fraternity. We do a lot of good things to help prevent bad things from happening to us. I guess the best thing I could recommend is holding the members accountable for their actions. This is something the organization already does a good job of but it could be better. If you hold the members accountable for the actions they know what to do, and what not to do, thus resulting in a safer environment.
        I believe Whipper Snappers could do a few things to keep its employees safer. I think that there should always be more than one person working at a time. This would be a financial burden but I think it would be much safer.
         This study has found that many organizations make a strong effort in order to keep the well being of its members in good condition. There are policies, educational programs, and many other tools that organizations use to make sure this happens. The Kappa Alpha Order is an excellent example of how an organization keeps its members healthy and safe.
Hennessee, Jessica. “Interview” April 8, 2008.
Incentive, January 2003, v177 i1, p.20-23 (text 143)
Osborne, Helen. The Workplace Buzz. Estate Gazette, February 15 2003, p. 120 (text 178)
The Varlet of the Kappa Alpha Order. 11th Edition. 2006
Truck Facts, April 8 2008
Workplace Injuries. Best’s Review, June 2003 , v104 i2, p. 12 (text 155)

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