Question of the Day: What’s Hanging in Your Cubicle?

(Photo: Ol.v!er H2vPk)

Our recent podcast “The Dilbert Index” looked at offbeat ways to measure employee morale. Damon Beaven, a blog reader we interviewed, noted that a lot of Dilbert comics in cubicles tends to correlate with lower morale. “A lot of Dilbert comics seems to be a passive-aggressive way of an employee complaining,” he observes.

While that observation may not be very scientific, Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, says that signals from employees can indeed serve as powerful clues for managers. He gives an example from a study he conducted at a university call center that was lacking in motivation: “I was really struck by the fact that on the wall of the call center, one of the callers had posted a little sign, and it said, ‘Doing a good job here is like wetting your pants in a dark suit, you get a warm feeling but no one else notices.’”

So what’s hanging in your cubicle? Let us know in the comments below — and, even better, send a low-res photo to photo@freakonomics.com so we can post your photos next week.

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  1. CF says:

    Aside from pictures, a graphic about how unproductive meetings are…unfortunately giving it prominent view hasn’t changed the number of meetings I’m required to attend…

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  2. Sully says:

    The usual: Calendar, Sales Contest flyer from 3 months ago, a phone list for employees in other offices. And a 3-foot-tall, bald, clown pinata.

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  3. Kalen Fitch says:

    I have a lot of boring reference information posted and pictures of my wife and boy, pretty standard fare for the office. I actually had a Dilbert comic posted, but it was regarding the use of a fax machine and an intentional jab to a guy in the office that hates emails (friendly jab).

    That being said, I also have a quote posted in large font for all to see (not sure who said it):

    “People seldom rise above the faith placed in them. Don’t limit your team’s potential with your own low expectations of what is possible.”

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  4. Josh Hanson says:

    I’ve got a wall calendar of my favorite soccer team and a patent application for a stick (a dog toy that looks just like a stick).

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  5. Bridget says:

    I actually was about to print some of these out and hang them up:

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/02/29/the-life-of-the-number-crunching-analyst/

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  6. Andreas Moser says:

    My office is a guarantor for good morale: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/office-in-malta/

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  7. notmelbrooks says:

    Jimi Hendrix poster and a picture of a pint of beer .

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  8. James says:

    Very little. As a long-term contract worker, I know that I could be let go from a position at any time, so I don’t like to make more trouble for myself if I have to take things down in a hurry.

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    • V says:

      I’d think that you, as a contract worker, would know exactally when your contract is finished. One aspect of a contrat is to define the work to be done and the time frame to do it in. Maybe it’s different with long-term tenured employment or something.

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      • 98.6 says:

        Someone should also look at the opposite effect. I’m not sure it bodes well if employees feel the need to surround themselves with 17 varieties of inspiration to get through the workday.

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