Knowledge workers need freedom and self-discipline to perform their jobs. Freedom and self-discipline are highly related. If order only means doing as you are told, there is no freedom of self-determination. But freedom and discipline go hand-in-hand. People in any society or organization cannot do whatever they want when their behavior imposes on the freedom of others. It was John Dewey who said that any interaction between two parties that affects a third one constitutes a public behavior (The Public and its Problems). Nevertheless, if people see regulation of their behavior as to rigid for their development, chances are that they will rebel. People often do things contrary to their belief about those things. Such a behavior becomes a subconscious reaction to the counter force being used on them.
If human beings do not have any input in organizational decisions that have an effect on their wellness they look at others as not being to friendly to their condition. Organizations would have a better chance to catch up to empirical research, if they would involve employees in core policy actions. Self-discipline, then, would be easier to instill because it is known that people are more likely to abide by rules and regulations they help form. Where there is habitual exclusion it is almost impossible to induce responsibility. This is a predicament for productivity.
Getting the best out of people and helping them develop into physically, intellectually and mentally healthy, contributing members of organizations is often frustrating. But we cannot make anybody do anything as intrinsic as profound learning! Anything that gives the impression that learning can be forced should be reconsidered within any educational or training system. On the other hand, we must get to the point where we all understand that learning and knowledge are the ingredients that will move our society and its organizations ahead. In this sense knowledge and learning are not optional, they are an obligation. Thus, we need to develop methods of persuasion in teaching and training so that is something that people will not want to stay away from. We need to design organizations so they promote good human development aided by social connectiviness. Education has joined the ranks of the economic and business world aiming to achieve the condition where going to work and going to school or to the university should become an enjoyable venture.
Copyright 1999 QBS, Inc.