When the Ties That Bind Break
Sorohan, Erica Gordon, Training & Development
OUT WITH THE OLD PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACT. IN WITH THE NEW NONDEPENDENT TRUST. ACCORDING TO WILLIAM MORIN, IT'S TIME FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES TO BUILD A BOND BASED ON HONESTY AND RESPECT, INSTEAD OF FRAGILE PROMISES.
The employer/employee contract is broken. And according to William J. Morin, that's good news.
Actually, it's not so much that the contract is broken, explains Morin, the chair and CEO of consulting firm Drake Beam Morin. More accurately, the traditional bond between employers and employees rested upon a premise that has been revealed as unworkable. And that revelation clears the way for a new bond based on the kind of trust that emanates from honesty instead of piecrust promises--those easily made and easily broken.
Under the old bond--the so-called psychological contract--docile workers pledged allegiance to their employers in exchange for a promise of job security. Morin says that for many years, he himself lived the life that contract dictated, frequently uprooting his family for corporate relocations he never questioned.
"I grew up that way"--accepting the axiom that professional success meant "doing the boss's bidding, playing the game, and getting promoted every two years." But companies never were geared up to take care of people, says Morin, whose company is the world's largest outplacement firm.
"You cannot have companies become socialist entities," he says. "No one will ever take care of us forever."
That doesn't mean wise companies don't make substantial commitments to their employees. To illustrate, Morin quotes General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who asserts, "GE doesn't just exist for return on investment to shareholders, but it also exists for the fulfillment of employees."
"I think that is the major shift that management must make," says Morin--a shift that requires "not only a changing of the guard, but also changing the affinity, style, and posture of management in the United States."
Morin says that despite decades of management fads ("Who really believed in open-door management?"), U.S. businesses essentially have practiced military, chain-of-command management. But, he asserts, only through broad-scale changes in leadership can corporate America begin to repair the damage to employee morale inflicted by the widespread slashing of payrolls that began in the late 1980s--damage that …
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Publication information: Article title: When the Ties That Bind Break. Contributors: Sorohan, Erica Gordon - Author. Magazine title: Training & Development. Volume: 48. Issue: 2 Publication date: February 1994. Page number: 28+. © 1991 American Society for Training & Development, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1994 Gale Group.
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