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Name:ElliottStrilLastra

PRID:stril65900

Howhavetheoriesfrompsychologyshapedthemanagementofpeopleintheworkplace?A
Discussiononthehumanexperienceandemotionalcontrol

Introduction

Thepurposeofthisessayistoexplorehowtheoriesderivedfromthefieldofpsychology
have influenced management; specifically how management has affected the experience of
employees.Normallyforthispurposewecouldrefertoalotofliteraturerelatedtothesubjectthat
mayvaryfromhistoricalbooks,academicarticlesonjournals,andairportbestsellersthatcoverthis
subjectwidely.ForthisreasoninthisessayImnotsearchingtomakearevolutionarydiscoverybut
tojusttrytoapproachthissubjectusingamoredifferentapproachandusingadifferenttoolto
explorethiscontemporaryphenomena.Iwillapproachitnotonlyphilosophicallyspeakingbut
structurallyaswell.ByusingthismethodIexpecttoavoidastrictlyhistoricalrecapitulation,andto
getawiderscopeatthephenomena,evenifsomebasichistoricalfactsareatleastrequired.The
firstpartoftheessaywillcoverthetheorieswhichwillbeused,principallytheonestakenfromEva
Illouzchapter: TheriseofHomoSentimentalis,inherbookColdIntimacies(2001),whilethe
secondwillofferamorecentreddiscussiononthesubject.

Beforetryingtodescribethetheoriesused,Iproposeasemihermeneuticanalysisofthe
principalconceptsthatinvolvethequestionproposedinthetitle.Thismeansnottoapproachthe
conceptthroughitsstrictlygrammaticalmeaning,butasaphenomenathatistobeconceivedinthis
case as an strictly human activity as seen through several fields of knowledge: psychology,
management,work,workplaceandemployees,anditsfundamentalrelation.

Forthemajorityofthepsychologicalcommunity,SigmundFreudsworkisthefounding
stoneofpsychoanalysiswithhisdiscoveryoftheunconscious,andsothebeginningoftheformal
workofthepsychology(asthescienceoftheunderstandingofthe psyche).Thehumaninterest
involvedwiththetherapyofthesoul,andtherelievingofpain,informallyatthebeginning,gota
proper therapeutic structure principally with the works of Socrates and Seneca around the 3 rd
centurybC(Nussbaum,1996).Eventhoughthismethodologydisappearedwiththepassingoftime,
itlatelytooktheformofthepsychoanalysisandpsychology(Raabe,2002,pgs.1415)throughthe
influenceofpositivescience,whichinitselfcanbeseenastherootofthemorecontemporary
theoriesthatdescribeandmouldmanagementasweknowit.Sobasicallypsychologyisthescience
oftheunderstandingofthesoul,itsinfluenceintheindividualandgroupslife,andhowdiseases
and affections that involvethis soulor psyche can betreatedformakingthe human afully
functionalbeing.Psychologyoriginallyemergedfromphilosophylikealmosteveryscience,butin
itscaseitfolloweditsownpathhavingdifferentschoolsofthoughtinsideit,withallofthem
having in common the same root, the human experience of being and relating: conductive,
psychoanalysis,cognitive,behaviourist,systemic,etc.

Formanagementalotofthingscanbesaid,today,therearetonsofbooksorientedtowards
thefigureofthemanager,howtobeasuccessfulmanagerandhowtodealwithyourmanager,but
intheendwhatisamanager?Asimpledefinition:thepersoninchargeofgettingthepeopledo
whattheyhavetodo,togetthethingdone(AllenI.Kraut,1983).Butifmanagementstartedonly
asasupervisingpositionastheresultofnaturalselectionduringthegoldenageofcapitalism
(Illouz,2007,pgs.6465) andtheestablishmentoffactorieswhenthereweretoomanyworkers
andtheownersofthefactoryhadtochoosesomestrategicpersonsthatwouldstopdoingthe
manualwork,tosupervisetheelaborationofthework;ifitwassomethingsosimplewhyistherea
constantinterestinresearchingaboutthefigureofthemanager?

Philosophicalscienceslikeontologyandanthropologyhavespendalotoftimedebating
aboutwhatmakesus,ashumanbeings,differentfromtherestoftheanimals,somesaythatitisthe
capacityofcommunicating,otherssaythatitscapacityofworking.Regardingthissecondcase,if
workwastobeunderstoodonlyasaproducingactivityforthesakeofthesurvivalofthespecies,it
wouldequalanyotheranimalproducingactivity,butmanyaretheelementsthatdifferentiatework
asahumanactivity,especiallywithalltheinvolvementithasinthehuman,emotions,relations,
pleasure,suffering,motivation,partnership,development,andevenmentalhealth.
.
Theworkplacecanbeunderstoodasbothaphysicalspacewhereaworkingactivitytakes
place, or as a mental/virtual space circumscribed in time where a person or an organization
accomplisharewardedtask.Howeverinrealityisnotassimpleasthat,becauseinbothofthese
hypotheses,therearealotofotherelementsinvolved,suchashumanrelations,politics,anda
constantfluxuationsofhumanemotions.

Andlastlythereistheemployee,thepersonwhoseworkcarriesoutsomethingotherthan
themanagerstask.Theemployeeistheonewhoisinchargeofturningtheinputsintooutputs,and
isthebasicelementofeveryorganization,whetheritisasimpleproducingorganizationlikea
factory,orasolicitoroffice,oracreativestudio.Fromtheconjunctionoftheemployeeandthe
manager,thefirstprimitiveillusionofahierarchicalstructuretakesplaceintheorganizedworld,
andsothisisthefirstdyanismofpower,authority,andtension.

Itcanbeseeninthisbriefdescriptionoftheconceptsinvolved,thatthecommonpointisto
belocatedinthecomplexexistenceofthehumanbeing,wheremultipleelementscollide,Ortegas

wordsinhisessay Historyasasystem mighthelpshapealittlebitmorethecomplexityofthe


relationoftheconcepts:Humanlifeisastrangereality(Gasset,1962,pg.1)

Discussion

Asmentionedbeforetheprincipalreferenceforwhatconcernsthepsychologicalreferendum
oftheEssayistakenfromEvaIllouzchapter TheRiseofHomoSentimentalis.Inthatworkshe
describesahistoricalanalogyaboutthedevelopmentoftheformalapplicationoftheories that
belongtopsychologytoorganisationalstructures,anditselementalconsequencesinthepsychiclife
ofthemembersofanorganisation.Shedetailsthatthemostfamousincursionsinthefieldcometo
beTaylorsdoctrine,knownasthestartofthescientificmanagement,whichstartedinthefactories
andisrelatedtotheindustrialrevolutionandthemotivationtheory.Nowadaysthewordmotivation
isanentiresubjectinpsychology.DuringTaylorstime,itwasrelateddirectlywiththeincomethe
employeesreceived,turningintoamorebehavioralaspect,wheretheincomeordifferentkindof
compensationsweretobethoughtastheonlymotivationtheemployeehad.Allthismovement
came to produce a new phenomenon. Through the involvement of the science and the
rationalizationofthemanagementinorganizationstheemotionallifeoftheworkersissaidtohave
increased (Illouz, 2007, pgs.6465),but I think that it simply started to beconsidered as an
importantfactortobetakeninaccount.

ItisworthmentionalsothecontributionsWilfredBionmade,thatwerecentredintotwo
majorfields.Firstisthescientificationoftherecruitmentprocessthatstartedwiththeselectionof
themostcapablecandidatestotakecommandpositionsinthearmyduringthewar(Rioch,1970).It
isworthtobenotedthatthetayloristdescriptionwasbasedondifferentqualitiessuchastrustor
timeofexperienceintheorganization,andBioninsteaduseddifferentteststodetectthemost

qualifiedindividualsaccordingtoasetofcapabilitiesthatwererequiredfortheposition.Andthe
secondbigcontributionisabouttheunconsciousemotionalstatesofwhathecalledworkgroups
anddescribedasbasicassumptions(Pairing,fightflightanddependency)(Bion,1961,pgs.143
145).EveniffamouscharacterslikeFreud,Lebon,andmanyothersociologistshadpreviously
writtenaboutthebehaviourofgroups,Bionsworkwouldsetupalineofstudythathasbeentaken
intoaccountinmanymoderntheoriesaboutgroups.

ContinuingwiththeseprevioustheoriesIwanttolinkthesetwoprecursorstowhatFreuds
ideasonthepleasureprinciplecanberesumedas:Avoidpain,searchpleasure (Gay,1988,pg.
198).Sointheoryifpleasureisbeingprovidedinsideanorganization,thetaskshouldbedone
easier.Withtheobviousriskoffallingtoomuchinthecomfort,themanagerstaskistoapply
differenttoolstocontaintheanxietyandmeasurethepleasureinordertogetthedesiredresultfrom
thegroupororganisationheismanaging.

Broadlyspeakingthesecouldbethemostuniversalbasisunderwhichtherestoftheories
havebeendeveloped,forexamplethepanopticideaofbeingobservedconstantly,oftheconsented
cynicismbythemanagersforrelievingtheanxietyoftheemployees(Ehrenreich,2001).Theories
derived from these or more concrete methodologies should be adapted to very specific
organizationsandtheircircumstancesinordertobefunctional.Itisnotthesametoestablisha
casual Friday in a Wall street office in order to promote relaxation and bonding between the
employees,asitisinacreativestudio,andobviouslyemotionalincentivescanvarydrasticallyfrom
awhitecollaremployeetoabluecollarworker.

IntothewholegroupingoftheoriesIwouldliketoproposeadivisionamongthem,sothey
aretobedividedintotoprincipalbranchesaccordingtotheexpectedresult,thefirstonehastodo
withtheDos,andthesecondonewiththeDonts:

Incentives: These are the ones related with an active role from the managers of the
stakeholders.Itiswhattheygivetotheemployee,notnecessarilyinanexclusivelymaterial
way,butpermissions,empowerment,etc.
Control:Theprincipalexampleofcontrolaretheboundariesestablishedintheorganization,
andalltheelementsthatwouldforexampledefinetherulesinsidetheworkplace.

HereiswhereIamtryingtomakemypoint:bothcontaininganxietyandprovidingpleasure
inordertobeeffectiveshouldbeorientedtowardstheemotionaldynamicsoftheemployee.Many
psychologicaltheorieshavebeendirectedtowardstheproperuseofsymbols,someareassimpleas
language symbols, symbolic hierarchies, and even more complex ones that are related to the
architectureoftheworkplace.Andevenifpsychologycanandshouldhaveanimpactonthevisible
dynamics ofthe group orthe organization, its major influence must beorientated towards the
internal,oremotionallifeofthepersonintheorganisation.ThatiswhyIpresentmyhypothesis:
thattheoriesderivedfrompsychologyappliedtoorganisationallifehaveaprimarytaskconsisting
inemotionalcontrol,orientedtowardsfindingthemosteffectivewayofgeneratingtheoutputs
expectedbythemanager.

Theprincipalinfluencepsychologyhashadontheexperienceofemployeeshastodowith
theemotionalcontrol.Apositiveornegativeevaluationwoulddependonamoreexclusiveanalysis
thatcorrelatesanspecificorganizationwithanspecifictheory,becausenomattertheeffortto
developthetheorybasedonauniversalconcept,contextandindividualrelationcannotbeexcluded

fromtheequation.Thereisalwaysanethicalissuethatcannotbetakenlightlyabouttheway
psychology can influence organisations. That is the risk of manipulation, or worse, the
depersonalizationoftheemployees;becausenomatterhoworwhattheemotionalsphereofthe
humanbeing,itcannotbespittedfromtheexperienceofhisownexistence.Thebigrisk,oreither
thethinlinethatpsychologyinorganisationsface,isthelineoftheeffectiveness,thatis,howcana
managerattainthedesiredlevelofeffectivenessthroughthemotivationofitssubordinates,without
provokingtheconsequencesofadepersonalizationthatwouldderiveinadepressivebehaviour
linkedtoineffectiveness,workerrotation,orlowproduction.Ifitwastoberecognizedthatthe
humanbeingisonlyamechanicalbeingsubjecttoasimplebehaviouristaction/reactionstimulus
thepsychologicaltheorieswouldassurethesuccessofanyprocess,butinsomewayitisimpossible
tomakehumanmodellikethisone.Hencetherearemanyotherfactorsthatplayanimportantrole,
ofwhichthisessayfocusesonthepersonalityofthemanageranditsowncapacitytohandleallthe
unconsciouselementsanddynamicsthatcaninterveneinanyprocessduringanormallabourtime.
Thisdivisionisnotnewtothepsychology,eventoday;oneofthemostcommoncritiquestowards
psychologicalpracticereliesontherelationthatexistsbetweentheeffectivenessofthetreatment
andthecapacityoftheanalyst/therapist/consultant.

Conclusion

Thekeyconceptsthatemergefromthewritingofthisessayareeffectivenessandemotional
control.AndinthisconclusionIattempttodescribeinadeeperwaythisrelation.Whileemotional
lifeshouldbeanaturalhumanquality,thecontroloftheemotionallifecanbethethinlinethat
separatesasimpleprocessfromanethicalissueasImentionedpreviously.Whileethicsandan
emotionallifeareafundamentalpartofthehumanexistence,whatbesaidabouttheeffectiveness?
Accordingtothepleasureprinciple,ifitweretakenintoconsiderationduringtheimplementationof

psychologicalinputs intoanorganization,itwouldprobablydealmorewitheffectiveness.But
speakingofeffectivenessontheemployeeswouldcreateadichotomythatisambivalentbothfor
thepsychologicalexperienceoftheinnerlifeoftheemployee,andtotheorganizationallifeof
them.Theeffectivenessoftheprocesswhichaccordingtothepreviouslycitedprinciplewoulddeal
withsomethingassimpleasfindingtheeasiestwaytogetthedesired,oratleasttheexpected
result;orontheotherhandfocusingonlyontheresultwithouttakingintoaccounttheprocess,here
iswerethecoreoftheemployeeexperienceshouldrelyifitwastobeanalysedfromamore
specificandnonuniversalperspective.

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