Centrality of Work LO13219

Harrow, Stuart C. (bvc2206@dcrb.dla.mil)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 09:57:00 -0400

Replying to Meaning of Work? LO13186 JULIEN Denyse <JULIEN@imd.ch>

A study on "The Meaning and Motivation of Work into the next Millennium"
was conducted by the International Institute for Management Development
(IMD). IMD is a business school in Switzerland that specialises in
executive education.

Question 1.
We developed a measure of how central work is in your life, Now and in the
Future. There was a drop in this work centrality rating (from now to the
future) across all industries. Additionally, the British sub-sample has a
significantly lower value for work centrality in the future, as compared
to the other nationalities. Any thoughts about either of these
--- end of quote from prev msg ---

There is a small concept in management circles, as I understand it, that
the level of improvement is related to the quantity, rather than the
quality of attention paid to it. The level of improvement often
translates into the degree to which an organization is able to learn.

Two possible explanations for the decreasing centrality of work are
1) Economic, and 2) Protective Reaction to Discomfort.

1. Economically, rates of renumeration and social welfare systems now
make it possible to retain some degree of outside life. I don't have to
work 14 hours a day to feed my family.

2. Protective Reaction to Discomfort. The level of need satisfied by
work has, unfortunately, decreased, as measured by Maslow's hierarchy of

While at one time, work occupied a cental position in one's efforts to
achieve self-actualization, I believe the purpose of work now could be

The reaction to a lack of continuity; the perception that workers are
expendable; the experience of managers who on one hand need to feel part
of an organization, but on the other must look over their should for their
next job, should they be laid off, creates a severe discomfort in a
serious-minded worker.

Their reaction, I belive, is to to discount any exhortations from senior
managers on their (the managers') value to the organization, and find
self-actualiztion in other venues.

Stuart Harrow
Defense Contract Management Command Long Island
Long Island, New York (USA)


"Harrow, Stuart C." <bvc2206@dcrb.dla.mil>

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