Which is More Important: A Strong Work Ethic or a Drug-Free Workplace?

A strong work ethic is nothing to sneeze at. Any employer finds him or herself wishing for a set of employees, all with strong, reliable work ethics, who enjoy their job time and who give it their best. However, this is not always the case, and employers may over look illegal or irresponsible behavior from staff members who, otherwise, have a strong will to work. Is this dangerous or does it not matter?

First, let’s examine the value of a love of work. Boas Shamir performed a study on the effects of work ethics upon unemployment. [1] The results were that employees with high work involvement retained much more dissatisfaction and contempt for their unemployment than employees scoring a low work involvement. After six months, employees who had a high work ethic were eager to return to a job, whereas employees with a low work ethic were more content to stay unemployed. This study has interesting implications on the effect of individual fortitude on the entire economy of a country. Clearly, this is no small matter.

However, work ethic is not everything. Workplace safety is also an important issue. Another study cites research on the effects of a drug-free working environment upon job injuries. [2] The results state that the drug-free environment facilitated safety to a noticeable degree. Which is more important? Management satisfaction or employee perception? While both issues are important, the issue of staff safety is not only a moral one, but also a statement of productivity.

A third study effectively ties everything together. Michelle Kaminski tested how productivity and on-the-job injuries were correlated. [3] Higher productivity was directly associated with lower number of injuries, and low productivity was the result of organizational practices which increased the number of injuries. Safety is the deciding factor, and management should consider taking a stand concerning any employee who abuses alcohol or drugs on or near the jobsite. In this case, they are not employing a proper work ethic, but are refusing to take their job as seriously as is appropriate.

Although an excellent, enthusiastic employee may be a sight for sore eyes on your jobsite, remember that a drug and alcohol free workplace is even more important. Hold employees accountable for their behavior and get them tested for substance abuse today. CMM Technology has the best quality testing equipment available. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Protestant work ethic, work involvement and the psychological impact of unemployment .” Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/job.4030070105/abstract.

2. “Do Drug‐Free Workplace Programs Prevent Occupational Injuries? Evidence from Washington State .” Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2004.00217.x/full.

3. “Unintended Consequences: Organizational Practices and Their Impact on Workplace Safety and Productivity.” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WYT-46FN5GF-4&_user=10&_coverDate=04%2F30%2F2001&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1713101657&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=3cf24e742342bb67531bea5b37925bbc&searchtype=a.

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