Unconscious Schizophrenia in modern business leaders

Some interesting research is being done by Peter Pruzan in business ethics at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, which I read about in Monoculture, viz:

Management professor Peter Pruzan facilitated a workshop fot the executives of a company known for hierarchical control and an emphasis on shareholders, not stakeholders. Pruzan gave these executives, flown in from eight Western countries, a list of ‘values’ like success, love, professional competency, honesty, trust, wealth creativity and power, and asked them to reflect on which ones were most important in their personal lives. They were to discuss their selections in small groups and then list the group’s top five selections in small groups and then list the group’s top five personal values. Later that day, the executives were asked to reflect on the company’s most important values–not the ones officially promoted, but the implicit ones underlying decisions about hiring and firing employees, entering and leaving markets, advertising, lobbying, or negotiating with unions.

When the groups compared their lists of personal and corporate values, everyone realized that within each group the two sets of values were completely different. The executives’ personal values tended to include terms like ‘good health’, ‘honesty’, ‘beauty’, ‘love’, and ‘peace of mind’ and the organizational values included words like ‘success’, ‘power’, ‘competitiveness’, ‘efficiency’, and ‘productivity’. … the gap between a leader’s personal values and the values he or she promotes at work is so extreme, Pruzan said, that leaders have unconsciously developed a modern form of schizophrenia, threatening the health of both the leader and the organization.

Here’s a link to one of his papers: The Question of Organizational Consciousness: Can Organizations Have Values, Virtues and Visions?. Interesting.

Author: Caterina Fake

Literature, Art, Poetry, Homeschooling Mother. Founder & CEO, Findery. Co-founder, Flickr & Hunch.

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