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A shift in employer-employee relationship

From a collectivistic culture to an individualistic culture

Student: Matthijs van der Wijst

Student number: 1601515

Course: Complexity of a Complex World

Teacher: Sandra Kytir

Date: April 30th 2017

Word count:

Table of content

1. Introduction 3

2. Periodization 4

3. Organizational Theory 4

3.1. Bureaucracy and Scientific Management 5

3.2. Human Relations Theory and People Management 7

3.3. Organizational Culture and Self-Management 8

3.4. Post-Bureaucracy and Change Management 9

3.5. Fast Capitalism and ‘the End of Management?’ 10

4. Individualization of Work Arrangements 11

4.1. The Rise of Psychology and Neoliberalism 11

4.2. The Importance of i-deals 14

4.3. Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation 15

5. Conclusion 16

6. Literature 17

1. Introduction

The employer-employee relationship has definitely undergone changes and it would be interesting to look in more detail into the economic, political,… dynamics causing the shift that you identified. If you have any questions or need advice once you have started writing, please let me know!

I would like to write my term paper about how the discourse of the employee as a resource for companies developed.

Nowadays, it seems to me that companies adjust more to an employee, in terms of working conditions, career paths, future decision making, experience and development of the employees. In my opinion it used to be the other way around. The company demands certain behavior of its employees, focusing on its culture and ethical codes. But because a lot of employees take a better look at what they want for themselves, employees start to look at a company that is a better fit for them as an individual, than they can actually contribute to what the company is looking for in an employee


- How did/do companies look at employees?

- How do employees look at companies?

- Did or do developments from an economic perspective cause this effect?

- Or are they more politically oriented, like human rights, or the improvement of education?

2. Periodization

In order to research a shift in the relationship of the employee and its employer it is important to use a certain theory about change. Hay (1999) addresses different approaches of researching change in the chapter Continuity and Discontinuity in British Political Development. Hay explains the approaches on the basis of developments in the British political system. He states that most changes are analyzed with quantitative evidence, because they provide useful insights into the development of the stat in the postwar period. However, it can not tell a lot about the specific processes of change at work.

“Continuity of this qualitative kind can mask qualitative discontinuity in the sense that a great variety of very different processes might sustain a continuous tendency for increasing public expenditure” (Hay, 1999, p. 28).

Furthermore, Hay (1999) states that change is a relative concept. Whether specific phenomena are regarded as evidence of change will depend on two factors: the system in which the change has happened; and the time-frame or temporal perspective of the change. The social and political world are constantly changing, which makes them victims of a world of change. Periodization is therefore an analytical tool (Kytir, 2016). It tries to interpret an undifferentiated flow of time by identifying periods. It is based on the presumption that there is a paradoxical assumption of continuity and discontinuity, which are happening at the same time all the time. You cannot call something a ‘relative continuity’ because it already changed again. It is up to you to say that something has changed, because there is no guideline or ‘master periodization’ for it (Kytir, 2016). This makes analyzing differences in time and change very subjective.

In the end of the chapter, Hay (1999) mentions the strategic-relational approach. This approach places emphasis on change as the consequence of action, though action constrained and conditioned by the structured context in which it occurs. Change is held to result from the relationship between strategically informed conduct on the one hand, and a densely structured strategic terrain on the other. In this paper, this approach will be used in order to periodize changes because there is a clear demarcation of periods with underlying strategic influences, and these consequences of action take place between the conduct and the terrain Hay argues.

3. Organizational Theory

To get a better view of how employers and employees look at each other, it is important to look at how this relationship developed in the first place. Organization and Human Resource Management professor Christopher Grey (2017) wrote his book A very short fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying organizations, which gives a proper introduction on how organizations developed, and why it is important, according to him, to study organizations. Grey is interested in critical and sociological studies, both theoretical and empirical, of management and organizations. This includes historical studies, discourse analysis and ethnography. In particular, his interests for history and discourse analysis are very helpful to better understand the employer-employee relationship and to find the turning point of the relationship. In the following of this chapter, the book will be used as a guideline to get a clear perspective of how organizations, employers and employees developed during the last century. In his book he used a timeline of the emergence and the development of different kinds of approaches and events that caused the differences in how organizations were looking at employees and the other way around. He analyses and compares these different approaches starting with the chapters ‘Bureaucracy and Scientific Management’ and ‘Human Relations Theory and People Management’. According to Grey (2017) these are the ‘classical’ issues in the study of organizations. Simply, because they are the earliest contributions to the subject. They set out a series of themes, issues and ideas which keep recurring in later work (Grey, 2017, p. 17). The other chapters focus more on contemporary issues, which will be of importance to understand the relationship between organizations and its employees nowadays.

3.1. Bureaucracy and Scientific Management

Max Weber (1864-1920) was a German sociologist and is known as one of the founders of the modern sociology and one of the intellectual advocates of interdisciplinary science. Grey (2017) states that Weber saw what might hold a society together was authority — that people somehow submitted to the will of others because they believed those others had the right to give orders (p. 22). On its turn, authority might come from tradition: you obey because you are used to obey and it has always been like this. Look at for example the Medieval church or the Royal families. According to Weber, these forms of authority were increasingly being replaced by what he called: rational-legal authority (Grey, 2017, p. 22). This means that there is a system with laws, rules and procedures originated from rationality. Based on this system the approach bureaucracy is getting its roots. This resulted in a clearer task description for employees, rules as the starting point for efficiency, and a clear hierarchical structure in society. Weber was not in favor of this development and was afraid of the loss of freedom: the iron cage (Grey, 2017). Within rationality there are two distinctions according to Weber. The first is formal rationality, with its focus on efficiency, minimal waste with a maximal outcome, and rules. The second is substantive rationality, which contains (ethical) judgment. Bureaucracy is often formal rational, and not substantive.

As bureaucracy expanded within organizations, so did the criticism on it. The ultimate criticism was the book of Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), where she states that the actions of  the Second World War criminal Adolf Eichmann was a result of bureaucracy and was not an evil person of itself. He wanted to be part of a bigger picture like most people do, obeyed the orders and believed his superior was responsible for his actions, not himself (Grey, 2017). Hannah Arendt was a Jewish-German philosopher, and with a background like hers, this revelation got under a huge amount of media attention. Another critical scientist was Zygmunt Bauman, a Jewish-Polish sociologist and philosopher, who became famous in the ‘80s with his books about modernism. He stated that the Holocaust was a ‘normal’ phenomenon of modernity, and that normal organizational principles were crucial for the performance. Aspects that he mentioned in this matter were: division of labor, procedural rationality, categorize, and the moral that obeying rules is right (Grey, 2017). The third critical scientist that is mentioned here on the topic of bureaucracy is Robert Merton (1940). He stated that bureaucracy causes goal displacement, that the means become the goals. The obeying of rules becomes the most important part of work, it is ineffective, and inefficient.

Considering the former the sociological perspective of the rise of organizational studies, the following, Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1917), looked at some of the same aspects in a more economical perspective. He was an engeneer and became famous for his scientific work, Taylorism, also known as scientific management. He worked in the steel-industry and worked with many protestant factory owners and Catholic employees. Taylor lost control of the Catholic employees, they had their own people to take care of the work and from Taylors’ perspective the work was not fulfilled efficiently. His solution was a scientific approach where activities are executed within the production process. It contained a cooperation with the manager and the employees. The manager observes the process, wants to know more about the process he is managing and he makes agreements with the employee about working time, bonus, or punishment. It appeared that most employees were looking for a bonus and so they worked harder (Grey, 2017). This event resulted in historical developments in the relationship between employee and employer. Namely, drawing up rules to improve efficiency and growing of production. This caused the effect that the employer was seen as a cog in an organizational system.

3.2. Human Relations Theory and People Management

The scientific management approach was first seen as a solution to a problem: to control the catholic employees in the factories. However, some of the consequences of scientific management were not in everybody’s favor. There was a lot of resistance by unions and employees, the power inside organizations was placed from the employees to the managers (division of labor), and there was a rise of strikes, turmoil and conflicts. To all this negativity there was the defense of scientific management that it was highly efficient, that everybody was equal, and that standardizing was safe. The distance between the employee and the employer became larger (Grey, 2017).

This development caused that in the 1920’s and the 1930’s the Hawthorne Experiments were executed. By what is called ‘the illumination experiment’ and the ‘bank wiring experiment’, Elton Mayo (1880-1949) concluded that managers need to be informed with the social needs of the employees, a good salary is less important than to be part of a group, and the ‘Hawthorne effect’. This effect means that when you pay more attention to an employee as a manager, their work performance will be higher. When the employees participated in the experiment, they felt important (Grey, 2017). Elton Mayo identified the importance of ‘the human factor’ in organizations, which meant that employees were now recognized as having social needs and interests. They could no longer be regarded as the economically motivated cogs as Taylor did (Grey, 2017, p. 45).

In the following years, People Management was constructed (Grey, 2017). This means that the manager is more focused on the social construction of the workplace and is no longer the manager who punishes, but pays. At this point the theory of Leadership is getting more and more important (Fineman, Gabriel & Sims, 2009). Different kinds of leadership theories, models and forms were formulated in order to execute power in the most efficient way. It was still very much focused on hierarchy based organizations, such as the army or banking companies, but leadership became part of the business management. Furthermore, leadership also became a way to practice politics. It was the competence to use the power in the right way. Organizations became more and more political systems with leaders (Fineman et al., 2009). Not only leadership but also motivation became an interesting aspect of People Management. Many (famous) studies were done around this period. For instance, the model of Rogers (1959) which gives a good example of how the human relationships within the company became of more importance. It was a study about the ‘ideal me’ versus the ‘actual me’, and the distance between them. How larger this distance is, how harder it becomes to feel satisfied. The most important conclusion was that people who had jobs they liked were happier (Rogers, 1959). Another critical study at the time was the pyramid of Maslow (1943), which is probably known by most students and researchers with a little interest in human motivation. The pyramid of Maslow received some critique in the years after. It focused too much on a selected group of people and there is no attention payed to local variations, but he generalized too early (Grey, 2017). But the fact that this study was done made it very clear at the time that there was need for people to develop themselves in another way than just job satisfaction.

Fineman et al. (2009) constructed an interesting vision on the topic of how motivation was seen at that time. They say that next to biological needs, there are a few other universal need patters. The importance of culture means here that it creates its own contextual needs. They assume that there are two different approaches on human existence, namely: positivism and constructivism. Positivism looks at humans as instruments, like the Scientific Management movement did. It focusses a lot on behavior and emphasizes actions in the way it always has been. Constructivism is a more interpretive method that has a humanistic image on people. It focusses more on socialization processes, giving meaning to the actions and individual motives. The importance of organizational culture is growing.

3.3. Organizational Culture & Self-Management

As the previous chapter implies, organizational culture is becoming of greater importance in order to keep employees motivated. So far, it has been clear that most of the studies that were done, focused on how the employer and the organization can look at employees, and still not the other way around. The theories about Organizational Culture arise around the 1980’s. Where leadership was the main focus in People Management, so is Culture in this stage a tool for normative control among employees (Kunda, 2009). Normative control means also colonizing the living world, that the persona is being claimed as a part of the organizational culture, and culture is seen as a management tool. The biggest question asked by Grey (2017) in this period, is if it is possible to make culture? Grey (2017) implies that this is not the case. But it is influential, because there will always be circumstances where things are not going the way you would have wanted it to be. So, culture cannot be determined or be manufactural because it is always more complex than planned: a lot of different people, differentiation and fragmentation. There are always too many processes that work on each other. Organizational culture has its own dynamics. Besides, symbolics within organizational culture are of absolute importance (Grey, 2017). It is expressed in material symbolics (logo’s, outfits, architecture), verbal symbolics (advertisements, slogans, gossip, jokes), and treatment symbols (gestures, meetings, routines, interactions).

The verbal symbolics of organizational culture causes another shift of management: Self-Management (Grey, 2017). This means that the employee is held responsible for the goals of the organization. This suggests that the employee receives an enormous amount of autonomy. This approach is all about control. Because there is a constant possibility that the employee is being monitored, their own responsibility to do a good job is getting high. A proper comparison is like driving a car and there are speed cameras besides the road that keep people from driving too fast. This way the discipline is for the employee to do a good job, and not with the system. That is why it is called self-management (Grey, 2017). Disadvantages of this system is that it can conflict with the goals of the organization and that employees lose their connection with the organization, become more isolated, and there is a shortage of ‘being part of’ (Kunda, 2009). This causes lack of appreciation and meaning for employees to do their job (Grey, 2017).

3.4. Post-Bureaucracy and Change Management

After self-management the employee wants to be more flexible and innovative (Grey, 2017). Bureaucracy is a system of efficiency, fixed rules, and hierarchy. From the 1970’s the industrial kind of way is making place for a post-industrial type. Mass production of standard goods is being replaced by short production processes for specific markets. The bureaucratic system did not give any space for innovation, creativity and change (Fineman et al., 2009, p. 237). The markets became more unstable and therefore there was need for quicker changes. The consequence was that around 1995 the Post-Bureaucratic system was developed. According to Heckscher, Heckscher & Donnellon (1994) the post-bureaucracy focused more on consensus and dialogue than on rules and status. It contained shared values instead of top-down management. Individual competences were addressed and it was about temporality and flexibility. Compared to Culture Management they shared the ideology about the shared values, but it was not so much about fixed employees and the small attachment with the organization (Kunda, 2009). Grey (2017) mentions some critique about this system. He states that it is not so revolutionary as academics did say. The expansion of the service economy caused that the control mechanisms within bureaucratic institutes increased, so the attention that researchers thought that the post-bureaucratic system would get, was eventually not so high. Besides, Grey (2017) argues that the bureaucratic system is not entirely undesirable. The post-bureaucracy contains a loss of honesty, consistency and transparency due to its flexibility.

So far, every system had its pros and cons. Is there the ideal type? Grey (2017) thinks that there is a lack of proof of the autonomous employee to give a proper solution to the problem. But he proposes Change Management as the possible solution. Change is becoming a more and more popular word in management courses. Quick changes around the world cause that organizations have to adapt to these changes. However, Grey (2017) is still skeptical. He states that the development of globalization is being overrated. That people want to change too badly because of the idea that we live in a changing society. Things we want to change, like the climate issue, seem too big. He compares ‘change’ with Darwin’s Evolution theory: Organizations have to adapt to the changing world, otherwise they cannot survive. But: who says change will lead to better products? For example, the digitalization of the banking world. There is need for a method that will always be successful, while this may be impossible (Grey, 2017). It is often unknown if the success of an organization is due to a change. The problem is often strengthened by the introduction of multiple changes at the same time. So, when is change successful? Just like with ‘culture’ it is the question if ‘change’ is manageable because it is also too dependent on too many variables.

3.5. Fast Capitalism and ‘the End of Management?’

Around the year 2000 there is coming an end to the post-bureaucratic movement and the theory of Fast Capitalism is rising. In a lot of sectors, it became clear that not only ‘change’ is important but also being ‘fast’. It expresses itself in terms of ‘fast traveling’, ‘fast payments’, ‘fast take-overs’, ‘fast electronic developments’, ‘fast news breaks’ etc. Grey (2017) defines Fast Capitalism as follows: “Power, speed, motion, standardization, mass production, quantification, regimentation, precision, uniformity, astronomical regularity, control, above all control — these passwords of modern society in the new Western style” (p. 110). It is very close to the theories of globalization, which is defined as: “the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness” (Grey, 2017).

This constant growth of all kinds of processes all over the world cause a shift in the meaning of the word ‘manager’ (Grey, 2017). Grey (2017) gives examples like leader, entrepreneur, change agent, and consultant. The concept ‘manager’ has a different meaning than before, because the ‘manager’ is originated as an intermediary in the technical environment. He has control over employees as an advocate of an elite-group. Grey (2017) argues that the power of the term ‘manager’ is decreasing, but not with the term ‘management’. Boards will be existing within the broader term of ‘management’. Everybody appropriates management-thinking in what Grey (2017) calls: managerialism.

The timetable below gives a clear view of what just has been said. So far, many theories about management and organizations has been displayed to give an introduction of how organizations and employees have developed in their relationship to each other. The following paragraphs will give more insight in how the employee is developed in its relationship with organizations.

Timeline (Grey, 2017)

Start 1800

Rise of Bureaucracy

 Around 1850

Industrial Revolution

Around 1900

Taylor and Scientific Management

Around ’20’s & ’30’s

Hawthorne Experiments

Around 1945

Rise of Human Relations Theory

Around ’80\'s

Rise of Organizational Culture and Self-Management

Around 1995

Rise of Post-Bureaucracy and Change Management

Around 2000

Fast Capitalism and ‘End of Management?’

4. Individualization of Work Arrangements

Professors of the University of Lincoln, Bal & Lub (2015), focus much more on the employee in relation to this theme. In most of their work they research the psychological background of certain changes within organizational studies. In their chapter Individualization of Work Arrangements, they address the term I-deals, concerning the work arrangements between the individual and the organization (employee). As mentioned, Bal & Lub (2015) dig deeper into the psychological background of this shift, which gives a clearer insight of the topic.

4.1. Rise of Psychology and Neoliberalism

Bal & Lub (2015) state that the individualization of work arrangements is very much influenced by a number of societal trends, which can be traced back to the 1700s and the work of German philosopher Immanuel Kant (p. 3). Kant proposed that human beings should be treated as ends in itself and not as means towards an end. The dignity of the human being is in his philosophy a categorical imperative, a principle that it is good in itself. So, the individual cannot be used to achieve a goal. This stretches the same purpose as Mayo found in the 1920’s with the ‘Hawthorne Studies’, discussed in the previous chapter (3.2). A human being can not be used to achieve some end. Kant used his philosophy, and Mayo used empirical data. Combining Kant’s philosophy and the interests in the 1800s for the individual experience of the world, has led to a conceptualization of society as consisting of individual human beings rather than collectives:

The rise of psychology as a scientific discipline in the late 1800s emphasizes the increased attention for the individual. A central idea of this movement is that individuals are not just a part of a larger collective, such as a village or an ethnic group, but that individuals are persons with rights, such as the right to pursue one’s self-interests. A collectivistic culture assumes the sacrifice of the individual for the collective, as can be seen in principle in various political ideologies, such as Marxism and social-democracy in the times of Nazi- Germany, and more recently in the sacrifice of suicide-bombers in the Middle East for a greater purpose. The essence of collectivism is that the individual does not have an entitlement above the existence of the collective (Bal & Lub, 2015, p. 3).

Furthermore, Bal & Lub (2015) explain that the philosophy of Kant assumes the dignity of the human being, and respect for the fundamental right of each human being towards its dignity. It is clear that every human being experiences the world differently, and in combination with the rise of psycho-analysis, psychology has grown after the 1900s. This still does not explain the fact that the employee became more individual. According to Grey (2017), around this time, organizations still focused on the employees as a collective group instead of the individual. From a scientific perspective, there was a lot more attention on the human being as an individual, while this was not the case from the economic perspective as shown by the Scientific Management approach that Grey highlighted. Therefore, Bal & Lub (2015) mention that it was not only the rise of individualism in the 1900s that led to the particular interest in individualization at work. It was after the Second World War, and in particular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, that the US and the UK, and to a certain extent Europe and other parts of the world as well, have been influenced profoundly by the upcoming capitalism under a neoliberal political ideology.

“Neoliberalism is an economic-political ideology which central aim is to create economic freedom for people and organizations, and thereby regulating the economy, whilst it proposes trust in the free market to regulate itself” (Bal & Lub, 2015, p. 4).

The distribution of resources should not be regulated by the government but should be governed by the invisible hand of the free market, according to Jessop (2002). This invisible hand of the market is proposed to ensure the economic order. Interference of the government in this order is unwanted, unless it benefits existing multinational corporations. Neoliberalism aims to deregulate types of services that traditionally are conducted by the government, such as health care, education, infrastructure, and energy supply. Competition within these markets will, as the ideology prescribes, ensure that customers will benefit from the best quality for the lowest prices. The grounding principle of neoliberalism (and capitalism) is that individuals aspire profit-maximization; to do so, individuals make rational, strategic choices concerning how they obtain resources. As research has shown, this assumption is false and misleading, but nonetheless neoliberalism has infiltrated the economic system throughout the world (Bal & Lub, 2015). One of the best examples for instance is the European Union, which is founded on these principles of the free market and deregulation of public services like the gas and electricity market.

One of the consequences of a neoliberal society is hence the intensification of the distinction between winners and losers (Bal & Lub, 2015). Winners in this system are those people and organizations who achieve material success, and who are able to show a social status based upon extrinsic success. Losers are those who have no economic success, because of some reason that limits them from achieving this success. Reasons are for example the inability to achieve success through lack of resources, education or skills, lack of motivation or bad luck (Bal & Lub, 2015). A similar phenomenon Bal & Lub (2015) observed on the societal level, with large and successful organizations in the current economy having more power to influence political decision making, causing the improvement of their own position through influencing decision making processes that favor themselves over others that are less fortunate. After the Second World War people obtained a social status based on their economic success in society and those people who were unsuccessful suffered.

4.2. The Importance of I-deals

The consequence of the individualization of the public sphere has increased the emphasis on self-reliance, and responsibility of each individual for his or her own well-being. Individualization has decentralized responsibility for material and immaterial success to the individual. Therefore, in an individualized society, every individual human being is responsible for his or her own welfare, but at the same time can no longer rely upon institutions to represent the needs and stakes of workers.  Besides, when governmental institutions are dominated by large organizations, workers have less control over their own workplace and their work conditions. Bal & Lub (2015) give the example of a company like Apple, with its cheap production process in China, where poorer working conditions are the norm. At the same time, they use tax havens (such as the Netherlands and Ireland) in order to pay as little tax as possible on their profits. That is why the profits that organizations make, are increasingly distributed unfairly. In summary, individualization in combination with a dominant neoliberal ideology has created a society in which unfair distribution is the norm and Bal & Lub (2015) argue that this is reflected in how I-deals currently function within the workplace.

Through negotiation of individualized work arrangements, employees are no longer dependent upon the availability of practices within the system, but have the opportunity to negotiate resources that are important to the employee beyond regulations, for instance as prescribed by law, collective labor agreements or HR-policies. These positive aspects have been manifested in various research areas, including proactivity, job crafting, protean careers, and job redesign (Bal & Lub, 2015). The term ‘protean career’ concerns the individualization of the work arrangements where the development of the individual is key. Bal & Lub (2015) argue that I-deals cannot be separated from its ideological origin, or the individualization of society combined with a dominant economic-political ideology of neoliberalism.

When strategic decisions are made as to how an organization should function, it is no longer enough to focus on profitability of the firm, and with it shareholder value, as this might lead to critical violations of human dignity. Organizations that use I-deals to retain, attract, and reward employees, should be aware that I-deals can be used to promote as well as to violate the dignity of employees. As a consequence, I-deals form a crucial tool by organizations to either sustain neoliberalism and capitalism, or to promote alternative perspective on the role and importance of employees in organizations (Bal & Lub, 2015).

4.3. Organizational Culture Shapes Employee Motivation

In the previous paragraphs the individualization of society, and at the same time the work arrangements, have been discussed. This was all done from a more psychological than economic perspective. To give a clear view of the importance of individualization on economic level the article How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation of McGregor & Doshi (2015) will be used. Different kinds of periods were discussed in the previous part, while this part is more about a certain period of time. McGregor & Doshi focus a lot on companies with a strong organizational culture from the last couple of years. They based their model on the six main reasons why people work, by Ryan & Deci: play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia. The first three tend to improve employee performance while the last three concepts tend to reduce employee motivation. They adapted their model to the modern workplace and found that a high-performing culture maximizes the concepts play, purpose, and potential felt by its people, and minimizes the emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia. Furthermore, McGregor & Doshi (2015) state that a higher customer satisfaction is linked to a stronger workplace culture. This means that if organizations try to improve their workplace culture, the evaluation by its customers will be higher. To build a stronger organizational culture, McGregor & Doshi  (2015) describe several processes. They explain three sensitive elements: the way a role is designed, identity, and career ladder. The first and least sensitive one concerns the efforts a company puts in designing a highly motivating role. When this effort is high, the employee’s motivation will be positively affected. The second and more sensitive one, is the identity of an organization. This includes its mission and behavioral code. The third most sensitive element is the career ladder in an organization. When employees feel that there is more to achieve within the company than the current job they have, their performance is higher. Conclusively, McGregor & Doshi (2015) state that leaders have to treat culture building as an engineering discipline, not a magical one. They believe that organizational culture is not so manufacturable, but can be of great importance in order to motivate employees, to adapt to the fast-paced, customer-based, digital world we live in, and to be a powerful competitive advantage.

This article is being used to give a clear view of how individualization and organizational culture are related from an economic perspective. McGregor & Doshi (2015) proved that when companies focus more on the individual needs of employees, it results in higher motivation, and moreover higher performance. This eventually results in higher profits for organizations.

5. Conclusion

In this paper, I tried to identify different periods based on the strategic-relational approach by Hay (1999). From the 1700s onwards there has been increasing attention in the psychological field and interests how individuals experience work and life. With the rise of the bureaucratic system in the beginning of the 1900s, the human being has been served a purpose as being a mean towards an end. Combined with the increasing attention of the psych-analysis and the ‘Hawthorne studies’, the Human Relations Theory was developed and organizations saw more and more the need to give more attention to employees. Only after the Second World War and the 1970s and 1980s the neoliberal ideology found its way into the largest countries all over the world. Individualism became more important, not only for the human being, but also for organizations. With the rise of the importance of organizational culture, it has been used as a tool to motivate and control employees. After 1995, Change Management replaced ‘culture’ as being a tool to motivate and control employees.

7. Literature

Bal, P.M., & Lub. X.D. (2015). Individualization of work arrangements: A contextualized perspective on the rise and use of i-deals. In: Bal, P.M., & Rousseau, D.M. (eds). Idiosyncratic deals between employees and organizations: conceptual issues, applications, and the role of coworkers. London: Psychology Press.

Fineman, S., Gabriel, Y., & Sims, D. (2009). Organizing & organizations. Sage.

Grey, C. (2017). A very short fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying organizations. Sage.

Hay, C. (1999). Continuity and Discontinuity in British Political Development. In Marsh, D., Buller, J., Hay, C., Johnston, J., Kerr, P., McAnnulla, S. and Watson, M. (eds). Postwar British Politics in Perspective. Cambridge: Polity Press, 23-42.

Heckscher, C., Heckscher, C., & Donnellon, A. (1994). Defining the post-bureaucratic type.

Jessop, B. (2002). Liberalism, neoliberalism, and urban governance: a state-theoretical perspective. Antipode, 34, 452-472.

Kunda, G. (2009). Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation. Temple University Press.

Kytir, S. (2016). Complexity of a Complex World: Lecture 5.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370.

McGregor, L., & Doshi, N. (2015). How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: culture-shapes-employee-motivation

Merton, R. K. (1940). Bureaucratic structure and personality. Social forces, 560-568.

Rogers, C. R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships: as developed in the client-centered framework.

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