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Maslow on Management by Abraham H. Maslow

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Addition to the Notes on Synergy

Poor social or environmental conditions are those which set us against each other by making our personal interests antagonistic to the group, to those of others.

There is a possible empirical relationship between the concept of synergy and the concept of good conditions which might be exploited for research purposes. Ruth Benedict has defined synergy as the social-institutional arrangements which fuse selfishness and unselfishness, by transcending their oppositeness and polarity so that the dichotomy between selfishness and altruism is resolved and transcended and formed into a new higher unity: This is to be done by institutional arrangements so that when I pursue my selfish gratifications I automatically help others, and when I try to be altruistic I automatically reward and gratify myself. Various testable hypotheses can be deduced from these statements which might put the definition to the test:

  1. A good society is one in which virtue pays.
  2. A good society is one in which selfishness pays and in which other people approve of one’s selfishness because they understand that they will ultimately benefit thereby. (The point here is that virtue or altruism or unselfishness are no longer different from selfishness and no longer have different directions or different goals or different consequences.)
  3. The more the synergy in a society (or in a pair, ...

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