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Managing individuals – Are humans averse to Work?

Questions, Questions, Questions

How can organisations manage an individual’s time, objectives, and resources in order to accomplish tasks and implement ideas? How can organisations reconcile their needs and objectives with those of the individual? How can organisations construct a system where all individuals have enough space to grow and make their contribution, whilst maintaining high levels of motivation over time and supporting job satisfaction? How can organisations create an environment for people with different skills, levels of intelligence, levels of education, levels of drive/motivation, at different times in their life and with different cultural backgrounds? And, how can these differences be reconciled with the organisation’s unique and specific targets? How does the personality of an individual effect the way they interact with their colleagues and their superiors and how can individuals with difficult personality traits be managed effectively? And further, how can organisations efficiently manage conflict between individuals? How can organisations adequately prepare individuals for an ever changing and evolving economic environment? And, how does this need for adaptability affect an individual’s psychological need for stability? How can an organisation effectively cope with an individual’s level of stress, both related to that brought on by work as well as that related to their personal life?

Are there any answers?

In the context of these questions, it is clear that an organisation must try to achieve a state of equilibrium, which may be difficult given numerous and sometimes opposing variables involved. To accomplish this goal, management must ensure that the common economic objectives of the organization are realised, whilst maintaining social order by helping individuals to achieve personal satisfaction, mostly through motivation, which in turn is likely to make them more willing to cooperate and thus be productive.

However this is far from simple to implement. The average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, is primarily in search of safety, has innate aversion towards work and, where possible, will try to avoid it (Oglesby, Parker, & Howell, 1989). There can also be no illusion that what motivates one person might not necessarily motivate someone else, and it must be said that some people are easier or more willing to be motivated than others. In fact many organisations have long realised this and instead of using too many resources on trying to motivate the right behaviour in the wrong people, are instead working harder on recruiting the “right” individuals from the outset. However, whilst having flexible and motivated individuals as part of an organisation will undoubtedly aid in their management, challenges will still remain; at least for as long as humans persist to be complex in their diversity.

Dr Beppe Micallef-Trigona
Dr Beppe Micallef-Trigona
Dr Beppe Micallef-Trigona is a Maltese psychiatrist who returned to Malta after working as a consultant psychiatrist with the UK Ministry of Defence (Royal Navy), and previously, as a consultant psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service.

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