I will never forget what the shop steward said to me on my first plant tour as a newly minted organizational psychologist. She leaned over and declared with a grim smile, “Oh, you’re here to figure out how to suck the last ounce of productivity out of us.” And so the battle lines were drawn. Not much seems to have changed in employee productivity in the last 30 years.
On the one side, we have employees who want to do meaningful work, feel competent doing it, and are recognized for it. On the other side, we have a management that is driven by efficiency, utility and profitability. The distance between the two sides is a measure of how well both sides can align their interests and goals. It looks like this: