The great paradox of capitalism : Free food and massages at work

Capitalism 539

It is a great paradox how the need for innovation and the desire to be ahead of the game (i.e. being a strong competitor) as a result of capitalism has in turn altered the relationship between managers and employees. There appears to be an interest in hearing what workers have to say in regard to how processes and products can be improved. But even more interestingly, the way “knowledge workers” are being catered to in this day and age is very different from how workers were often treated in the industrial times. We now see Google and other highly competitive companies providing free food and massages for their employers. And who thought that capitalism of all things could in fact inspire this kind of change?

That being said, I still do however feel that this twenty-first century move towards actively seeking the tacit knowledge of workers by providing (whether it be through providing attractive incentives or not) highly depends on the type of organization as well as the leadership. As a matter of fact, in a book that I am currently reading, titled Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud, the author makes a really important point that has resonated with me since. He notes that “there are plenty of companies that you could ignore for a year and you would not have missed anything. They are stagnant, even if they are busy; they are sitting still while the world rushes by” (Cloud, 2013). I know this to be true, for I have been exposed to such an organization described above (i.e. busy, but stagnant). What is worse; being enticed by perks in order to generate creative ideas or being in an organization that is resistant to thinking outside of the box, in turn stifling individual and organizational growth?


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