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Table 3

Example of Most Common Outcomes for Form of Expression (Authentic, Controlled or Silent) and Work Unit

Suppressed Contexts

Nursing Home, Women’s Health & Singapore Social Work Unit

Contingent Contexts

Surgical Center and US Social Work Dept

Legitimating Contexts

Coaching Unit and Labor Organization







Authentic. An aide wanted to talk about the lack of community. Nursing supervisor: “I blew up, I guess.” RB#21-37

Neg. Ind. & Soc. Aide went to talk to coworker, wants to look for new job. Division is worse, lack of teamwork is worse. RA#16-28

Authentic. Computer system wasn’t working. Blood bank left the unit without blood for a critically ill patient. Doctor: “I went into a raging screaming fit.”

Pos. soc. Blood was delivered. They finally recognized the problem. People were there the next day, planning how to completely modify the system.

Authentic. “Another organizer cancelled my meeting without telling me.” Two “huge fights” followed. D#29-47

Neg. & Pos. Soc. Only ½ the people showed up at the conference. The first organizer apologized -- “I blew it.” “[It] actually worked out OK. He learned… now we are back on track and working hard.”

Controlled. “I tried to get patient’s family to come many times. I was irritated but calmed myself. They were too busy.” JA#45-101

Neg. Ind. & Pos. Soc. “I got very angry about it.” But they won’t come. “I worked with patient’s girlfriend instead.” RA#1-2

Controlled. Dr. refused to add on an emergency case. Scheduling nurse told him directly that “was unacceptable.”

Pos. Soc. Dr. agreed to do it and then apologized. They later teased each other about it and their relationship was fine.

Controlled. Coach on budget: “The email that I do…gives a chance to think about it and figure better responses.” BB#63-170

Pos. Social “He emailed back, well o.k. give me a plan. So I worked a long time on a plan… [now] there are going to be some upgrades.”

Silent. Supervisor refused staff member’s request. She was angry but said nothing to the supervisor. BA#12-98

Neg. Ind. & Soc “It was belittling, embarrassing -- I’ll never ask to go to a conference again.” S#61-143

Silent. After receiving scathing email from wife of patient, social worker felt angry, but did not respond.

Neg Ind. (A letter was sent to a patient that had died.) She feels badly, but thinks the wife should realize that mistakes happen.

Silent. Part time coach was working 60 hrs/wk without benefits. Didn’t talk to boss, but with another coach who gave advice. M#69-172

Neg. Ind. & Pos Soc. Part time coach felt taken advantage of and angry. The advice helped him know what options he could explore with his employer.

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