Project Title

Applying Symbolic Interaction Theory to Staff Training: An Empowerment Philosophy

Presenter Hometown

Sleepy Hollow, NY & Corbin, KY

Major

Recreation and Park Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Jon McChesney

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

Symbolic Interaction Theory is a “theoretical approach to understanding the relationship between humans and society where human action and interaction is understandable only through meaningful communication or symbols” (Boundless, 2016). This theory is suggestive of empowerment given the notion that people are active participants in shaping their experiences. Empowerment means allowing employees the freedom to make decisions, with the outcome cited in research being higher job satisfaction (Goffman, 1967; Seligman, 2002; Diller, Shedroff, and Rhea, 2008). Given that job training can be disruptive and stressful (Cannon-Bowers & Salas, 1998; Saks 1994), the application of Symbolic Interaction Theory to staff training needs investigation. This study will investigate whether Symbolic Interaction Theory can be functionally used as a staff training philosophy. A literature review as well as interviews with management experts was the methodology employed in the study. Results indicate that giving new hires more discretion with training processes can reduce the associated stress of starting a new job, positively impact learning, and enhance the transition into the new agency.

Presentation format

Poster

Poster Number

024

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Applying Symbolic Interaction Theory to Staff Training: An Empowerment Philosophy

Symbolic Interaction Theory is a “theoretical approach to understanding the relationship between humans and society where human action and interaction is understandable only through meaningful communication or symbols” (Boundless, 2016). This theory is suggestive of empowerment given the notion that people are active participants in shaping their experiences. Empowerment means allowing employees the freedom to make decisions, with the outcome cited in research being higher job satisfaction (Goffman, 1967; Seligman, 2002; Diller, Shedroff, and Rhea, 2008). Given that job training can be disruptive and stressful (Cannon-Bowers & Salas, 1998; Saks 1994), the application of Symbolic Interaction Theory to staff training needs investigation. This study will investigate whether Symbolic Interaction Theory can be functionally used as a staff training philosophy. A literature review as well as interviews with management experts was the methodology employed in the study. Results indicate that giving new hires more discretion with training processes can reduce the associated stress of starting a new job, positively impact learning, and enhance the transition into the new agency.