I arrive at a high-rise office building, one of only a few in this medium size city's downtown, at a few minutes past 8:00 in the morning. As an organizational psychologist who is studying compassion in the workplace, I have been granted permission to study a group of people who perform billing and account receivable services for the health system that owns the building; a group that I have been told displays extraordinary values and also gets results. Armed with a notebook and a tape recorder, I take the elevator to the 9th floor and knock on the door marked Physician Billing. Looking through the glass door that is accessible only to those with a magnetic cardkey, I see a woman look around a cubicle wall and get up to let me in. I ask for Sarah, and she looks at me a bit quizzically as she leads me down an aisle between sets of cubicles toward the only office that has a door in this large open room full of cubicles. Sarah isn't in her office, so I am kindly deposited in the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
My first impression of the space is that I've walked into a garden rather than a billing unit. Almost every cubicle wall is decorated with silk or dried flowers of some kind, and summer is in full bloom in the paper decorations, silk flowers, and other items that spruce up the office.
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