The individualistic ethic and the design of organizations


The self-psychology theories used as motivational tools in work organizations during the past 20 years have collided with a confluence of societal changes. The individual has been enticed by more freedom in the work organization and an increasing array of life choices in a pluralistic society. At the same time, the economic environment has become hostile, threatening to limit the individual's choices. The confluence of expanding social choice and contracting economic resources has made it difficult for many individuals to make life choices that may lead to personal self-fulfillment. As a result, employees may most need and most appreciate order and predictability from their work organizations at the very time when more flexible work organization structures are most needed for the wave of new products and production technologies that need to be explored and developed. Hope for a resolution to this dilemma may be found in strengthening society's more durable social institutions, such as the family, organized religion, and the local community. If individuals can find the stability their lives need in these institutions, they may respond better to change, challenge, and freedom in the work organization.



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Journal of Business Ethics