Staying Human in the Organization: Our Biological Heritage and the Workplace (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)

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9780275942953: Staying Human in the Organization: Our Biological Heritage and the Workplace (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)
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Bernhard and Glantz attribute many workplace problems to a basic conflict between human nature and the structure of modern organizations. Because human beings evolved in small, egalitarian hunter-gatherer bands, most humans have emotional needs that can best be satisfied in small groups that are based on personal reciprocity, sharing, teamwork, and genuine interdependence. In such groups, leadership can be based on acknowledged personal ability, everyone can feel important, and the common goal can weld people together in a way that is both efficient and personally satisfying. The authors see the formal hierarchies of modern organizations, where authority often replaces leadership, as the resurgence of pre-human primate social relationships in which bluffing, threatening, and intimidation played a major role. Numerous and varied examples from the workplace lend the analysis graphic immediacy and authenticity.

Many theories have been advanced to explain such workplace phenomena as endemic dissatisfaction, low productivity, and high absenteeism. Many books have argued that teams, a democratic management style, and employee participation are essential, given an educated work force that doesn't live in fear of being fired. Staying Human in the Organization is the first book to relate these themes to evolutionary biology, the discipline which in recent years has been revolutionizing the behavioral sciences. The result is a new way of thinking about labor relations and organizational development.

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About the Author:

J. GARY BERNHARD holds a doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts where he is the Director of the University Without Walls program. He is the author of Primates in the Classroom: An Evolutionary Perspective on Children's Education.

KALMAN GLANTZ, Ph.D., a former assistant professor of economics, is now a psychotherapist in Cambridge and Concord, Massachusetts, where he practices with Vic and Judith Himber. He is the author, with John K. Pearce, of Exiles from Eden: Psychotherapy from an Evolutionary Perspective.

Review:

?The authors content that the genes we inherited from hunter-gatherer bands represent a common biological heritage that has influenced human behavior. They examine features of bands that provided members emotional fulfillment and contrast them to today's hierarchical organizations which inhibit emotional fulfillment by impeding close personal ties among members. Workers experience feelings of alienation, loss of self-esteem, and often lack of respect for their superiors who frequently possess authority not because of competence but solely because of position. The contention that human behavior is motivated by the ancient past in which small groups lived and worked together is an interesting perspective. The book is well researched with insightful references to bands in past societies.... The book would be useful to interested general readers and students of organizational behavior, anthropology, and sociology.?-Choice

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Bernhard, J Gary, Glantz, Kalman
Published by Praeger (1992)
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J. Gary Bernhard, Kalman Glantz
Published by Praeger Publishers (1992)
ISBN 10: 0275942953 ISBN 13: 9780275942953
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