“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.”
— Cesar Chavez
The value of individuals in organizational or industrial settings is one of the most important value to concern in a highly capitalistic society. The impact of individuals to organizational activities and industries is quite significant. With good relationships between leaders and subordinates, organizations can strive towards their goal efficiently. With healthy people at work in a non-stress-making environment, they can perform better. Also, moving together as a single organizational body can be realized by valuing the importance of individuals. Unfortunately, in some organizational and industrial settings, I saw the gap between owners of capital and the people who work for them (proletarian). The people hate their jobs, and the owner treated those workers only as money-making machine. Therefore, they have ugly relationships, stressful experiences, and unshared goals because every party moves only with their own interest.
While capitalism itself derived from the value of individuals within it, it had transformed into such systems which create gaps between owners and laborers. In order for those gaps to be minimized, I believe the importance of individuals must be considered. Researches have been done to explore this issue. A research by Klein & Kim (1998) found that employees who had a strong relationship with their supervisor were more committed to achieving goals in organization. With more commitment to goals, people will perform better in their organizations. Another research by Gomez & Rosen (2001) found that when intense leader – subordinate relationships formed, their sense of empowerment also risen up. This sense of empowerment is also important for better performances (Schultz & Schultz, 2006).
It is quite possible when individuals don’t enjoy their jobs and their work environment, they tend to get distressed. High stress is important psychological factor that always affected individual performance in organizations and industries. Many problems that people met in their organizations are cause of their stress. For example, married women in the workplace not only have to think about their jobs like men did, but also need to think about their husbands and their children needs. Therefore, their workloads are often different than men. This heightened workload is a prime source of stress. Thus, individuals within organizations/industries must be provided with social support that can help them overcome their stresses. According to a research done by Evans & Steptoe (2003), lacks of social support when people stressed out are correlated with risk of heart disease. Again, performances will be affected.
Shared goal within organizations is also one important factor. Another psychological research done by Sassenberg, Jonas, Shah, & Brazy (2007) stated that people whom visions and goals are same with organization they worked at, will be happier and more satisfied with their memberships than people whom goals are not shared with their organizations. The happier and the more satisfied people are, the more they engage in group and maintain their group memberships (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2008). Here, organizations or industries should develop individuals’ sense of group belongings.
Let me close this with a few sentences. “People are not tools. People are not machines. Value them as human being, not as workers.”
Baron, R.A., Branscombe, N.R., & Byrne., D. (2008). Social psychology, 12th Ed. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Evans, O., & Steptoe, A. (2001). Social support at work, heart rate and control: A self-monitoring study. Journal of occupational health psychology, 6(4), 361-370.
Gomez, C., & Rosen, B. (2001). The leader-member exchange as a link between managerial trust and employee empowerment. Group and Organization Management, 26, 53-69.
Klein, H.J., & Kim, J.S. (1998). A field study of the influence of situational constraints, leader-member exchange, and goal commitment on performance. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 88-95.
Sassenberg, K., Jonas, K.J., Shah, J.Y., & Brazy, P.C. (2007). Why some groups just feel better: The regulatory fit of group power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 249-267.
SCG. (no year). Business philosophy. Retrieved from: http://www.scg.co.th/en/01corporate_profile/01_business_philosophy.html
Schultz, D., & Schultz, S.E. (2006). Psychology & Work Today, 9th Ed. Boston, MA: Pearson.