Notes on Self-Esteem in the Work Situation

. . . Where you try to move over from a strictly authoritarian managerial style to a more participative style, the first consequence of lifting the rigid restrictions of authority may well be some chaos, some release of hostility, some destructiveness, and the like. . . .

If we expand and enrich our understanding of the self-esteem level of motivation, then I think we can clarify and crystallize much which is only half-conscious or groping in the management literature. Everybody seems to be aware at some level of consciousness of the fact that authoritarian management outrages the dignity of the worker. He then fights back in order to restore his dignity and self-esteem, actively with hostility and vandalism and the like, or passively as a slave does, with all sorts of underhanded, sly and secretly vicious countermeasures. These reactions are puzzling to the dominator, but on the whole they are easily enough understood, and they make very real psychological sense, if they are understood as attempts to maintain one’s dignity under conditions of domination or of disrespect.


Now, one approach to this is to pick out all the words from the literature, generally from the remarks of the dominated people about the way in which they view their ...

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