Humanistic Workplace Paper

1653 words - 7 pages

Humanistic Workplace Paper


In today's workplace, Humanism would concentrate upon the development of the employee's self-concept. If the employee feels good about him or herself then that is a positive start. Feeling good about oneself would involve an understanding of ones' strengths and weaknesses, and a belief in one's ability to improve. Learning is not an end in itself; it is the means to progress towards the pinnacle of self-development, which Maslow terms 'Self-actualization'. For Example, a child learns because he or she is inwardly driven, and derives his or her reward from the sense of achievement that having learned something affords. This would differ from the behaviorist view that would expect extrinsic rewards to be more effective. Extrinsic rewards are rewards from the outside world, e.g. praise, money, gold stars, etc. Intrinsic rewards are rewards from within oneself, rather like a satisfaction of a need. This accords with the humanistic approach, where education is really about creating a need within the child, or instilling within the child self-motivation. Behaviorism is about rewards from others. Humanism is about rewarding yourself!

Much of a humanist supervisor's effort would be put into developing an employee's self-esteem. It would be important for employees to feel good about themselves (high self-esteem), and to feel that they can set and achieve appropriate goals (high self-efficacy). This form of supervision is known as employee-centered, and is typified by the employee taking responsibility for their productivity and owning their learning. The behaviorists might advocate positive reinforcement such as praise, and punishment in the form of negative criticism. The humanists reject both praise and blame. Employees can become addicted to praise, and put much effort into receiving praise from their supervisors. Such employee will often work for the praise, and not work if their efforts go unnoticed. This is so unlike an interested person surfing through the Internet, who derives satisfaction from learning something new, even though nobody is around to witness this acquisition of knowledge. In other words, if education were preparing the child for adult life, it would seem the humanist approach is the correct one.
The humanist supervisor is a facilitator, not a disseminator, of knowledge. Participatory and discovery methods would be favored instead of traditional didacticism (i.e. learn parrot-fashion every thing the supervisor says). As well as the employee's basic needs the humanistic supervisor is concerned with his/her affective (or emotional) needs. Feeling and thinking are very much interlinked. Feeling positive about oneself facilitates learning and productiveness. The self or the individual is important. Not the similarities between humans as much as the individuality of humans.

1 Affect - emphasis on...

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