Date PostedNovember 12, 2013

Research Shows Alcohol a Social Advantage to Young Workers

With all the negative news being reported about alcohol, it is refreshing to hear some good news every now and then, and a study conducted by Victoria University of Wellington has provided just that.

According to researchers at the university alcohol can be used for a social advantage at work by young employees and their organisations.

The research was conducted by a Master’s graduate at the university together with a senior lecturer from Victoria Business school. It entailed them examining the influence alcohol had on young people at the office. The young workers were interviewed and revealed that alcohol plays quite a substantial role in the workplace.

The researchers have deduced that alcohol actually acts as a social lubricant in the workplace and helps new and young members of the workplace interact and bond.

The following excerpt from an article on explains:

Master’s graduate Benjamin Walker and Dr Todd Bridgman, a senior lecturer from Victoria Business School’s management school, examined the influences on young people’s drinking habits in a white-collar environment.

Their study involved in-depth interviews with young employees at a professional services organisation in Wellington.

Mr Walker said he was surprised to discover the extent to which alcohol featured in the workplace.

“Alcohol is commonly used to facilitate team bonding and for presenting a friendly, informal image when networking with clients.

“It’s the way the organisation celebrates success, as well as the way new employees are inducted into the organisation.

“Laying on free alcohol has advantages for an organisation – by being seen as a ‘good mate’ for buying the drinks, the organisation builds up credit, with workers saying they felt compelled to ‘work harder’ during ordinary work time.”


The article went on to explain that many of the young people interviewed expressed their view that alcohol actually helped them with the progression of their career. This is because alcohol has become so centrally adopted by our society that if employees aren’t partaking of it, they can feel left out.

Employees should not look at this as an excuse to allow excessive drinking to run rampant. Employers should never drink excessively in a workplace environment and should make a conscious effort to moderate the amount of alcohol consumed.

Excessive drinking can be even worse for your career than not drinking at all. Even if you think you are the kind of person that can handle your alcohol well, do not exceed the recommended daily amount for your gender because if you do, you can quickly develop a reputation for being unprofessional.

The article goes on to state:

While most respondents said they deliberately exerted a degree of self-control over their alcohol intake at Friday night drinks to preserve their reputation, significant celebratory functions, such as mid-year or Christmas functions or team-level celebrations, were more likely to lead to heavy drinking.

Dr Bridgman said the study allowed researchers to gather valuable information about work-alcohol dynamics and start a conversation about the issues in an area that hasn’t received a lot of attention.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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