I was reading chapter three of Gareth Morgan’s ‘Images of Organization’ yesterday evening in preparation for my MN202 – Organisation Theory & Design class this afternoon. The chapter is concerned with interpreting organizations through the image of biological organisms.
One passage struck me as very interesting and accurate in relation to an experience I had in the workplace back in the mid-nineties.
First of all here is the relevant quotation from page 67:
“Imagine a socio-technological system where human needs characteristic of the higher reaches of Maslow’s need hierarchy meet a technology characterized by routine, boring, low-discretion jobs. The result is one of human boredom and alienation where game playing and sabotage often emerge as means of gaining self-respect. The abrasive interaction between subsystems in this case is likely to produce an ongoing battle between workers and management, high absenteeism, job turnover when new jobs are freely available, poor-quality products, and low organizational and self-image. The socio-technical approach suggests that, by accommodating and balancing basic needs, strategic management can create a much more harmonious and productive work environment.”
This description reminded me of a situation that developed for me during my employment on a production line for a well known multi-national company (which will remain nameless) in 1998.