Change is an Intellectual and Psychological process

Change is not only an intellectual process but a psychological one as well. It is not true as a good many industrial psychologists assert that human nature resists change. On the contrary, no being in heaven or earth is greedier for new thing. But there are conditions for man’s psychological readiness to change. The change must appear rational to him; man always presents to himself as rational even his most irrational, most erratic, changes. It must appear an improvement. And it must not be so rapid or so great as to obliterate the psychological landmarks which makes a man feel at home: is his understanding of this work, his relations to his fellow workers, his concepts of skill, prestige and social standing in certain jobs and so forth. Change will meet resistance unless it clearly and visibly strengthens man’s psychological security; and man being mortal, his security is always precarious. The enterprise’s demand for the workers ability to change therefore requires positive action to make it possible for him to change.

The Worker’s Demands on the Enterprise:

The demands of the worker on the enterprise are also defined in the phrase of the “fair day’s pay.” The worker is making his demands on the enterprise is a whole man not an economic subsection thereof. He demands, over and above economic returns, returns as an individual, a person, a citizen. He demands the fulfillment of status through a function of his job and through his work. He demands the realization of the promises to the individuals on which our society rests; among the promises of justice through equal opportunities for advancement. He demands that his work be meaningful and that be serious. High standards of performance, a high degree of competence in the way the work is organized and managed, and visible signs of management’s concern for good work are among the most important things demanded of an enterprise and of its management by the worker.

As a human being and citizen, the worker especially in a free society also imposes limitations on the business enterprises. The enterprise hires the whole man, but it has no right to take delivery of the whole man. Serving only partial needs of society, it must never control more than a part of society’s members, its citizens. Business enterprises must not become the “welfare corporation” and attempt to embrace all phrases of the individual life. It must, both in its demands and in the satisfaction it offers, confine itself to its proper sphere as one though a basic organ of society claim for absolute allegiance of the worker is as impermissible as a promise of absolute responsibility for him.

The Economic Dimension:

Finally there is a big group of problems that have their origin in the economic sphere.

The enterprise lives in two economic systems, an external and an internal one. The total amount available of the internal economy and that means, above all, for wages to the employee is determined by what the business enterprise receives for its product in the external economy. It is externally and market-determined. Internally, however, the enterprise is not a market economy. It is a “redistributive” one in which the product of the whole is distributed among the members of the enterprise according to a predetermined formula. Both market and redistributive economy are basic patterns: but the business enterprise is the only human institution known to us in which the two have ever become indissolubly linked. While the effort of management must be directed toward receiving more, that is, toward making the total product greater, the attention of the worker within the enterprise is directed toward receiving a larger share of whatever the total product may be. While extreme, their attitude is typical indeed, it is almost inevitable. Outside the enterprise the considerations are economic. Inside the enterprise they are based on power balance and power balance and power relationships. To the enterprise, wage – that is, the financial reward of labor – must necessarily be a cost. To the recipient, however—to the employee – wage is income, the source of his livelihood and that of his family. Wage to the enterprise must always be wage per unit of production. Wage to the recipient must always be the economic basis for his and his family’s existence which is before and beyond the units of production turned out. Here is thus a basic divergence. The enterprise needs flexibility of the wage burden. The individual values, above all, a steady, stable and predictable income based upon a man’s willingness to work rather than upon economic conditions.

Finally, there is twofold meaning of profit. To the enterprise profit is a necessity of survival. To the workers profit is somebody else’s income. That profitability should determine his employment, his livelihood, his income, is to him subject to an alien domination. It is arbitrary if not “exploitation”.