Dec 2, 2006

Individuals and Organizations

When teaching about careers in my new role as a visiting faculty in a B School, I realised that models like Career Anchors (Schien), Strengths and Talents (by Gallup) and Life Interests (Waldroop and Butler) will almost never be used by organizations.

In these models the primacy is accorded to the individual and his/her strengths, driving factors and interests.

However, for organizations, individuals will always be a "means to an end" (note, that's why the word "Human Resources") and primacy will always be accorded to the "job/role" over the individual.

Astha writes about why she loves OD, and I would add for OD professionals like us, it's the struggle of changing organizations to give value to the "whole individual" rather than just "the role" that gives us the satisfaction. We might not usually succeed, but even one success in 100 efforts is worth it !

Make no mistake, tremendous progress has been made in the past, including initiatives like work-life balance, alternate careers, flexi-timing, telecommuting to give primacy to individual interests.

But it never will be enough. That's because organizations will always strive for process compliance while individuals will always be a little bit different :-)