Men, Management, and Mental Health

By Harry Levinson; Charlton R. Price et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
TOWARD ACTION

T HE purpose of this study was to come to a better understanding of the relationship between work and mental health. To do so, we tried to understand some of the forces which operate within people's personalities which in turn lead to fundamental psychological needs. In the last analysis, it is fundamental needs with which we must deal if we are to grasp the depths of people's feelings.

Our study took us into two areas. People told us of some of their needs in the form of expressing their common concerns about their work. By doing so they also repeated for us a major psychological truth: that to maintain psychological equilibrium, to gratify one's needs, one must constantly resolve the conflicts which arise between the internal demand for need gratification and the external controls society imposes upon the ways in which needs may be gratified. That is, the process of need gratification is always a process of conflict resolution. Maturity and wisdom are built up out of successive, effective resolutions of conflict.

We have seen that people come to work in a business organization with the unexpressed (usually unconscious) intention of resolving conflicts here as they must in every other sphere of life. The concepts we have advanced to describe these conflicts would seem to encompass a range of experiences which are highly important to mental health in industry. No consideration of the relationship of work to mental health can safely omit the significance of the phenomena we have conceptualized as the psychological contract. Nor can the concerns with interdependence, balanced distance and change be disregarded. According to our

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