Workplace Peer Pressure- Employee Competition or Motivation

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 10964 , Published on 24 September 2011

Every individual sets certain professional goals for themselves which they want to achieve in their careers. Individuals want to constantly rise into positions of power and authority in their organization and want their work to be recognized. Every employee has his way of contributing to the organization in their best possible way and expect to get rewards for their hard work. However, every person in the organization wants to perform with the best of their ability. This leaves a difference in the amount of perceived contribution that every employee gives towards the organization, and this is where employees feel the pressure of work when compared to their peers. But does peer pressure intensify competition amongst employees or does it somehow motivate employees?


Employees feel peer pressure under various circumstances which pressurizes them to give more than they are giving. Employees can be forced to perform things out of their comfort zone when they are pressurized by their fellow colleagues in office. Peer pressure can be primarily classified as professional and personal.

Professional pressure is when employees tend to be overwhelmed by the quality or amount of work which is done by other fellow colleagues in the office. Sometimes when certain employees perform better in office, it leaves other co-workers with an inferiority complex. Since the performance of some employees at office work is better as compared to others, the management too starts developing an inclination and bias towards them. Hence the other employees feel neglected and sometimes this employee competition has ill effects on the functioning in team work. Also, professionals, most of the time bad leaders, tend to take away the credit for a particular task which has been successfully completed and blames others when something fails. This peer pressure can often demotivate employees and can cause a turbulent workplace.

However, if this peer pressure is understood from a positive perspective, it can motivate employees to perform better by trying to work on their skills and giving a better performance. Instead of succumbing to these pressures, employees must try and learn the positive aspects of their colleagues and see I they can improve themselves and match their skills. This positive competitive scenario within an organization helps the organization as all employees tend to perform better by giving more than their abilities.

Personal peer pressures are something which are however very difficult to cope with. Since people are social animals, they tend to form ‘groups’ or ‘gangs’ in the offices, which are closed groups, who do not accept other employees easily. Employee groups tend to go out for parties, outings etc which on one hand creates a strong bond amongst the group members, but the other employees tend to drift apart. Over a period of time, these groups within an organization tend to disrupt the flow in an organization as employees tend to have a feeling of inhibition when working with them. Personal peer pressure forces employees to change their attitude and behavior, which in the long run creates problems in the functioning of the organization. However, employees must be sure of what they are comfortable with and must not fall for peer pressures as some people feel that certain activities like smoking, drinking etc by the groups are unethical or simply that they are uncomfortable with it.

Competition amongst individuals in a company will keep on intensifying. Every employee must face professional and personal pressures of working in an organization and must try to ‘fit-in’ the work culture. Peer pressure would always be a challenge for employees, but it is up to the individual to either take it up as a struggle or as an inspiration.


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