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The Positive Organization by Robert E. Quinn

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6 EMBRACING THE COMMON GOOD

“Did you know that organizations are political?”

When this question is posed to a class of executives, the typical response is a low laugh. The laugh signifies that the answer is so obvious, it borders on being silly. “Everyone knows that organizations are political; if you did not know this, you would not survive.”

There is a follow-on question. “Have you ever had a boss who chose his or her personal good over the collective good?”

Usually, every hand goes up. I then ask, “How did you react when the boss made the self-interested decision?”

The most typical answer is, “I lost respect, I stopped caring, and I withdrew.”

An Elusive Concept

The conventional mental map assumes that people are self-interested. The positive ...

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