Showing you care:
cultures of commitment
An emphasis on development and being a learning organization is just one piece in the jigsaw of culture that will show people that the organization is committed to them. All the other pieces have to give the same message. This coherence will only be achieved if there is an underlying attitude that values people. There needs to be a genuine attitude of partnership. In its absence, there are bound to be jarring notes. These exceptions will create doubts in people's minds about the authenticity of any claims of commitment.
In particular there are ways of treating people that will suggest commitment and ways that will cause doubt. They will have this effect because they are tell-tale signs that the value is genuine or otherwise. They are ways of treating people that people would see as following naturally if the organization really cares. At an uncontroversial level, Pfeffer (1998) includes reducing status distinctions and barriers among his practices of successful organizations. People are referred to in a language that shows they matter and offered office space or other accommodation that also indicates their value. Another practice discussed by Pfeffer is sharing information with people. He says such sharing 'makes simple, common sense' (p. 95).
These practices seem to require no debate. However, there are other ways of treating people that require more consideration. The first is the offer of security.
Pfeffer puts 'employment security' at the head of his 'sixteen practices for managing people' in his 1994 book and at the head of his 'seven practices of successful organizations' in his 1998 book. He cites the example of the Lincoln Electric Company which guarantees employees with over three years of service that they will not be laid off. Pfeffer (1994) observes that