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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interpersonal communication tops concerns of farm supervisors


I interviewed 42 farm supervisors in the northern San Joaquin Valley, in order to explore how they became supervisors and how they feel about the work and deal with employee discipline. This study revealed that supervisors generally feel little need for additional training before they take on supervisory responsibilities. Like their farmworker counterparts, supervisors feel good about their jobs, rating them an average of 4.5 on a scale where 5 means the job is fantastic and 1 is terrible. When asked to identify the most challenging and rewarding aspects of their positions, farm supervisors overwhelmingly mentioned their relations with people. Those in upper management were more likely to have fired an employee than first-line supervisors, yet employee discipline was an important aspect of supervisors' work.

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