Corporate behaviour & the domino effect, what does it mean?

Employee engagement is based on trust and commitment between both the employee and the organisation. After all, the relationship between…

By Andy Thomas


Employee engagement is based on trust and commitment between both the employee and the organisation. After all, the relationship between all employees – from the boardroom to the front desk – is most productive when it’s cohesive.

Employers know that a positive company culture and corporate behavior matters. It helps you to hire the right talent (and keep it, too). However, it’s extremely difficult to ‘force’ the unity required to make everyone work happily together. Rather, you need to passionately foster a positive environment and understand how your workforce ticks.

Emotions and behaviours can be socially contagious. Just one disengaged employee can be enough to set off a ‘domino effect’ in the workplace, leading to the fragmentation of a previously inclusive work environment.

For the good of your business’ output and infrastructure, you need to avoid this turn in the tide.

What is the domino effect?

The domino theory suggests that if you make a change to corporate behaviour, it will spark a chain reaction in related behaviours and events.

Given that this ‘domino effect’ can influence negative habits as well as positive, it’s a very powerful tool. However, as with any reaction based around human behaviour, you’re likely to feel its aftermath – whether you attempt to engineer it or not.

For example, Polly in Finance might be asked to move her desk to another location in the office. Polly used to sit by a big window, which had a nice view and made her feel relaxed. However, her new desk is in a cubicle space, with no natural light or scenery to enjoy.

As a result of Polly’s desk move, she starts to feel increasingly miserable with her surroundings, and then more stressed by her job. When she speaks to her colleagues, they often come away from the conversation feeling gloomy as well.

Jake, who now sits next to Polly, decides that his morale is definitely worse than it was last year. He starts to browse vacancies at other businesses – ‘just to see what’s out there’.

The simple act of moving Polly’s desk has, unfortunately, caused a negative domino effect in the workplace.

How corporate behavior can make the domino effect work for you

All employees will be providers and recipients of relational energy – but it doesn’t need to be negative. Spreading positivity amongst colleagues can improve their

productivity and working relationships, creating domino effects which lead to productivity, growth and satisfaction.

If something so simple as moving Polly’s desk could cause profoundly negative repercussions, just imagine how your carefully considered, positive actions could change your working environment.

It’s generally best to start with employee feedback. Try sending an anonymous survey around the business, to discover where opportunities to raise morale could exist.

Does your workforce find the office too noisy and distracting when they’re trying to hit a deadline? Think about creating a designated quiet space, where staff can get their heads down in peace.

Are Sandra’s fish stews causing a stink in the marketing department? Consider an improved break room, where employees feel more comfortable to eat lunch away from their desks.

These changes may only tackle factions of your business, but they will soon influence the whole.

Corporate behaviour and the office environment

When it comes to creating a fulfilling, positive place to work, the physical business setting is key.

Shared workspaces can help improve interaction, collaboration and encourage the culture which helps energise a workspace. Better yet, a workspace that’s designed around your business needs will help you to meet both long and short-term goals.

Get in touch with the team to learn more about creating an office environment that fosters positivity and enables employees to be more productive.

Download our Office Design Guide

We’d love to discuss your ideal workspace
Get in touch