Stirring of Soul in the Workplace

Book description

This deeply lyrical book offers perspective for those struggling to hear the quiet voice of the soul over the din of the contemporary workplace. Alan Briskin shows how the modern organization has gradually increased its demands on us-beginning with our bodies, then our minds, and now our souls. But through the moving personal stories of people fighting to reclaim their souls, he also sends a message that encourages individuals to keep their spiritual integrity and values alive.
In The Stirring of Soul In the Workplace, Briskin weaves together lessons from history, psychology, and management theory, with numerous real-life examples, to tell the story of how the modern workplace has evolved to value technology and productivity over soulfulness and relationship. From the Industrial Revolution's marriage of mechanization and efficiency to the management theories of the early 20th century, Briskin traces the emergence of the quest for efficiency and control in the workplace. He questions the corporate concept of "individual personality" that asks us to check our emotions, fantasies, imaginations, and souls at the door. He describes the history of the soul as a dynamic force that continues to influence our behavior, and shows how excluding it from our work life actually flattens our potential and dampens our creativity.
Rather than solve the conventional question organizations have been asking for years-how can we change people?-Alan Briskin examines how organizations can better reflect personal and human values in the workplace. For organizations that too often have sacrificed the well-being of the individual for the goals of the organization, the author suggests a more active way of taking up our work roles that can bring more of our experience and imagination into play. He points out that meaning cannot come from corporate mission statements or reengineering programs. Instead, it needs to be nurtured through dialogue and reflection, the courage to ask troubling questions, and a willingness to face the consequences of our collective and individual actions. When we learn to honor the contradictions, uncertainties, and interconnections inherent in the workplace, the energies of the soul will begin to stir with revitalizing results.

Table of contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Preface
    1. The Soul in Organizations: A Bridge Between Two Worlds
    2. Organizations and the Whole Human Being
    3. Why Should We Care (and Read) About Soul in Organizations?
    4. The Contents of this Book and the Journey of the Soul
    5. The Importance of Telling Stories
    6. Appreciation
  5. Part One Perceiving the Soul
    1. 1 The Wilderness Within Ancient Views of the Soul
      1. Seeing with Soul
      2. Ancient Wisdom About the Soul
      3. The Many Voices of the Soul
      4. The Dance of Souls in Organizations
    2. 2 Shadows of the Soul Acknowledging the Dark Side of Our Best Intentions
      1. The Soul’s Journey: Ambiguity and Integration
      2. Containing Opposites in Ourselves and in Organizations
      3. Carl Jung and the Exploration of Shadow
      4. Shadow and the Soul in Disarray: An Organizational Case
      5. Steering Through Shadow in Organizations
      6. The Shadow of the Collective
      7. Confronting the Shadow in Ourselves
      8. Collection and Recognition of the Whole
    3. 3 The Domination of Souls How Organizations Become Our Keepers
      1. Power and Knowledge
      2. Suppressing What Does Not Fit
      3. The Castle of Conscience
      4. Internalizing the Demands of Authority
      5. The Gaze of Authority in the Modern Organization
      6. Confronting the Machine
      7. The Soul Emergent
  6. Part Two Chasing the Dream of Order
    1. 4 When Machines Won the Day Streamlining the Soul to Fit the Industrial Age
      1. Prelude to a Tale
      2. Serving the Machine: Process and Production
      3. Serving the Boss: Engineering Human Souls
      4. Time Is Money: Power in the Workplace
      5. The Tale of Homestead: War in the Workplace
      6. “Those Who Sell Us Their Labor”
    2. 5 Enlightenment Born of Fear Frederick Taylor and the Gospel of Efficiency
      1. The Rules of the Game—and Its Limits
      2. Perfecting the Tools
      3. The Logic of Efficiency
      4. A New Zone of Efficiency
      5. The Collective Awe of Technology and Efficiency
      6. Perfecting People: “The First-Class Man”
      7. An Ox Named Schmidt
      8. Upton Sinclair’s Voice of Dissent and Taylor’s Reply
      9. Behind Productivity and Efficiency: Taylor’s Management Assumptions
      10. Postscript: The Dark Night of the Soul
    3. 6 Separating Action from Meaning The Legacy of Efficiency
      1. The Soul’s Search for Logos
      2. Work, Jobs, and Meaning
      3. High Performance: The Embodied Soul at Risk
      4. Fit into My Order or Else: Efficiency and Obsolescence
      5. The Renting of Souls
      6. Efficiency and the Search for Meaning
    4. 7 The Management of Emotion Elton Mayo and the False Enchantment of Human Relations
      1. The Challenge of Enchantment
      2. Elton Mayo and the Inner Organization
      3. The Individual in the Group: The Birth of Human Relations
      4. Human Relations and the Soul: Managing Feeling in the Workplace
      5. The Illusion of Control: Perceptions of Meaning in the Workplace
      6. The Continuing Dilemma: Reengineering the Soul in the Workplace
  7. Part Three Journeying Toward Meaning, Coherence, and Wholeness
    1. 8 Taking Up Our Organizational Roles How We Can Affirm Our Experience at Work
      1. Role, Experience, and Soul
      2. Experience, Awareness, and Change
      3. Assigned Roles and Work Roles
      4. Finding, Making, and Taking a Role
      5. The Organization in the Mind
      6. Experience, Learning, and Meaning
    2. 9 Viewing the Whole A Way to Grapple with Contradictions
      1. Thinking About the Whole: Roles and Perspectives in Organizations
      2. Managing Boundaries Inside and Outside the Organization
      3. Internal Focus: The Preserving System Perspective
      4. The Purposeful System: Boundaries and the Environment
      5. Attending to the Whole
      6. Roles, Power, and Authority
      7. Navigating the Turbulence of Complex Systems
    3. 10 A Path with Soul Joining Our Inner and Outer Worlds
      1. The Unknowable, the Invisible, and the Uncertain
      2. Uncertainty and Synchronicity
      3. An Inclination for Dialogue and Deep Listening
      4. Communication, Information, and Dialogue
      5. The Soul of the World: A Place of Meaningful Paradox
  8. References
  9. Index
  10. The Author

Product information

  • Title: Stirring of Soul in the Workplace
  • Author(s): Alan Briskin
  • Release date: January 1998
  • Publisher(s): Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • ISBN: 9781605096162