What We Are Doing To Each Other

Monthly we are told that the unemployment rate is essentially stuck in the neighborhood of 9% and that the real unemployment is more like 17 to 20%. We have about 25 million people unemployed and without the means to provide for the essential basic human needs. Those without jobs don’t need the monthly figures to tell them how bad things are.

While the unemployment rate is far less than heart warming, what is happening to many who still have a job is almost as dehumanizing.  According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being IndexÒ from 2008 through 2011 the work environment has been getting worse year-after-year.

What this means is that there is a 4-year declining trend in job satisfaction, treatment by supervisors, openness and trust in the workplace and the ability to use one’s strengths at work.  As noted in a Knowledge@Wharton article “with millions of people looking for employment, the workplace these days is an increasingly unhealthy environment for those who still have, and are trying to keep, their jobs.”

A Crime Against Humanity

Why is this happening? As previously noted the intention of many corporate executives is to squeeze labor more and more in order to realize greater and greater profit.  To quote Deming, “beat horses and they will run faster—for awhile.”  In a stagnant economy with a high unemployment rate most people have little recourse so they swallow what they are given, though grudgingly.  They are happy to have a job but not happy with the job they have!

Treating people as fungible objects in the economic equation for the purpose of maximizing one’s own gain is not only exploitation, it is plain and simple dehumanization. No wonder people find the work environment is losing all sense of meaning and worth! You can’t dehumanize people and expect human potential to continue to be available: In the end everyone loses.

We each seek work that not only provides the means for existence we also need work to provide a way to meaning in our existence!  People need to be humanly productive through work, and not just materially productive at work.   Accordingly, the more the workplace aligns with our humanness, the more humanly and materially productive the organization will be.

We Need Not Manage This Way

The issue is not whether those in authority within our organizations can get away with objectifying people, but whether people in management should treat other people this way.  Those who argue for this way of managing might say that the organization must show quarter-to-quarter profit gains and therefore gains by whatever means are justified.  Unfortunately justified action does not imply just action!

When you treat people as objects, you are essentially disregarding their humanness, and yours as well. When is this ever a good idea? Isn’t it time we stop to re-think what we are doing to each other (an unavoidably our self)?  Isn’t it time to envision and enact a better way of leading?

Since we participate in creating our reality, if we desire to live in a human world then we each must enact it. Isn’t it time that we act out of our personhood and not from an objectified view of our self.

If not now then when is a better time?  Have we really the time to waste?

Beware of Demagogues

Robert Reich discusses the growing government cynicism the result of a number of things including political rhetoric, politician’s misuse of authority, capitalism overtaking democracy and the increasing control of special interest over the affairs of the public.

 

When material self-interest is the only interest that is served, then government becomes an instrument in service to those with the means to purchase it.  Continue reading

Becoming the Greatest

Where are we headed?

The significant finding in a recent US Census report (Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2010) isn’t that the poverty rate is highest since 1993.  Rather it is that the poverty rate had been steadily declining between 1993 (15.1%) and 2000 (11.3%) and steadily increasing to its present 15.1% since 2000.  What caused a worsening upward trend to emerge from what had been an improving outlook? What policies affected the difference between these two periods? Continue reading

Beyond The Bottom Line

Until business becomes the means for people to actualize their potential as human beings and not just the means for the wealthy to accumulate more wealth, there will forever be a downward push against labor.  The notion that if we can get people to work for less then we can be far more profitable seems to be the guiding principle. Continue reading

Corporate Overlords

The testimony of the CEOs from America’s five leading oil companies before congress revealed their belief that the unit of survival is (solely) their organization.  That is, the center of the universe is (literally) their corporation and industry and correspondingly that their importance both personally and corporately must not be questioned—they stand above it all. Continue reading

The Nature of Management

As Marjorie Kaplan, President of the Animal Planet and Science networks, noted in a recent interview, “it’s easy to be somebody’s friend. It’s harder to be their manager.”  While both are relationships they are different relationships.  What is the difference?  Likely it rests on the purpose or objective of why you are in the relationship. Continue reading

People’s Ideas Mean Business

A business enterprise begins with someone’s idea to provide a product or service.  As demand for its products and/or services increases, the business grows.  With growth in demand often comes an increase in the number of people performing the work of the business and with this there is the added responsibility of managing the people doing the work.  Consequently, as business activity intensifies and the number of people employed increases, managing the business becomes increasingly more complex. Continue reading

Ethically Sound Action

Ethical decisions are difficult because they involve value-centered life issues that cannot be grasped solely through empirical/objective means. Since there is more to life than spending, getting, and having life must not be equated to the amount of material wealth we amass. There have been instances where the numbers was the guide and the results were disastrous (e.g. most recently Toyota, BP). In short, the numbers alone can’t be the guide. Continue reading

Ethically Sound Action

Ethical decisions are difficult because they involve value-centered life issues that cannot be grasped solely through empirical/objective means. Since there is more to life than spending, getting, and having life must not be equated to the amount of material wealth we amass. There have been instances where the numbers was the guide and the results were disastrous (e.g. most recently Toyota, BP). In short, the numbers alone can’t be the guide. Continue reading

Revenue Falls but Profits Soar–Addendum

Andrew Sum, economics professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, concluded in his analysis of recent recession data “the carnage that occurred in the workplace as out of proportion to the economic hit that corporations were taking.”  A recent New York Times article by Bob Herbert reports key findings of Professor Sum’s research.  In speaking to the recent period of economic recovery Professor Sum said, we have seen “the most lopsided gains in corporate profits relative to real wages and salaries in our history.” Continue reading