Jobs: More About The Social Contract

6 Jun

I don’t do that, it’s not in my job description!

This is a phrase that makes most managers shudder.  It succinctly illustrates the ongoing balance, or as some may say imbalance, between “rights” and “responsibilities.”  We are living in an age of increasing rights. 

There is a continuum here with the anchors being rights and responsibilities.  The previous social contract does not explicitly identify which are rights and which are responsibilities.

Rights are fundamental and tend to be settled by litigation whereas responsibilities are managed by cooperation.  Effective leadership and management is based on the heavy use of communication and cooperation.

Organizations that are heavy on rights, think work rules, tend to have lower productivity resulting from inflexibility.  Work environments where management is top down, heavy handed, and authoritarian tend to create the need to define rights to protect workers from such management practices. 

Entrepreneurial organizations tend to be job creators.  One reason is their focus on responsibility and flexibility.


For an in-depth discussion of this issue go to Beyond Luck.

Next week, the job as a social role.


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