Traffic Analysis as an Identifier of Toxic Workplace Environments or Negative Interpersonal Interactions in the Workplace: A Design Study
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The author proposes research to investigate the potential for e-mail traffic analysis to provide insights into social networks within organizations as a tool to assist counsellors and other mental health professionals working to help individuals, groups and organizations recover from and prevent unhealthy and unsafe workplace practices that may hinder organizational function. Unhealthy and unsafe workplace practices may interfere with the capabilities of an organization to provide products and services to external stakeholders, as well as create liabilities for workers’ compensation insurers. The study proposes analyses of patterns of e-mail communications between individuals and groups. The proposed study hypothesizes that observable characteristics in patterns of electronic communications between individuals and groups within organizations may provide an indication of toxic environments or negative interpersonal interactions. Analyses are proposed to highlight opportunities for psychologists and counsellors to investigate further the nature of interactions between individuals and groups in order to identify and mitigate risks to the mental health of employees in the workplace. Validation of the proposed research using a questionnaire is discussed. Effective organizations are typically more productive, often provide higher-quality services, and are usually more financially successful than less effective organizations.