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Autor: anton • September 16, 2010 • 8,856 Words (36 Pages) • 797 Views
HRM - Conflicts of Scientific and Humanistic Values
One of the popular theory of the "Critical Theorist " ( with reference
to the Marxist view ).
science reduce humankind to passive objects beholden to the laws of "nature."
Sociology, as a form of science, is therefore also criticized for making scientific studies a means to an end unto themselves, as well as for not recognizing the importance of the individual.
Modern society at large is criticized for being obsessed with rationality and efficiency instead of human emancipation. Also, people have become overly controlled by technology. For example, constant stimuli such ad television pacify us and control our thoughts and emotions.
Culture also comes under attack for becoming what has been termed a culture industry. Instead of having stories, beliefs or artifacts for their own sake, culture has become commodified It has lost spontaneity or the ability to inspire originality in people. Similarly, there is said to be a knowledge industry. Universities are seen as oppressive institutions more concerned with increasing their influence than in providing students with knowledge.
Likewise, in the field of organization development, humanistic and scientific are two different and opposite elements that have always been in constant conflict and tension. And so often the measure of these conflicts are the effectiveness or efficiency of an organisation.
In my point of view, "humanistic" in nature and approach, whatever the subject, seeks to solve problems "from a human-centered viewpoint." And hence this paper could be an attempt of such effort.
2.0 What is efficiency ?
Efficiency is highly prized in a culture turned toward productivity. It is therefore cultivated in contemporary business administration theories. It also tends to be prized above all other values in modern society, as society is more and more oriented toward technological advancement. Efficiency is also defined here as the most economic or the shortest or fastest or most simple way of realizing or achieving a goal with the least cost.
As a means of evaluating human activity in business and practical activity in general, efficiency is, therefore, the standard. It is a standard of quality pertaining to the action, but it cannot be considered a moral virtue, since the quality of good or evil does not derive from the form in which an objective is achieved but from the goal or end that the action achieves. To give an extreme example, one could say that Hitler and his engineers were extremely efficient in achieving the goal of exterminating Jews. This is to say that one may very well be extremely efficient in obtaining goals that are evil just as one may be efficient in achieving good goals. It is therefore not the efficiency of achieving the goal that qualifies the action as being good or bad.
In this sense, it is important to point out the danger of an inherent tendency of technological society to put efficiency at the top of the hierarchy of values, along with moral values. In fact, as was pointed out, it is only an instrumental value. Nevertheless, as a standard, it tends to be applied, nowadays, beyond the realm where it might be adequately applied, that is, in the production, administration and economy of services and goods.
In justifying efficiency, on the other hand, one should say that in modern times, reason has to apply its own rational parameters to action in order to organize a society that has grown to massive proportions. Therefore, efficiency is a quality that derives from the rationalization of action. In mass society, institutions and policies have to be previously planned in order to achieve a desired objective, as, for instance, the running of government, hospitals, schools, universities, etc. Max Weber, for instance points out that it is the business of bureaucracy to be efficient; and John Dewey writes of social efficiency as that action that has the most beneficial results for all society.
A problem arises, however, when the criteria of efficiency, becomes the criteria applied above all others, in the evaluation of human action and output. As a matter of fact, though, the tendency of technology is to universalize its own standard, spreading it over and above all other standards. In the technological society, people start to forget that, as Descartes pointed out, only matter, "res extensa", is measurable and not the realm of the spirit.
So in order to avoid that the nature of our discussion here will only be subjected to efficiency in the context of work organization.
2.1 Question of Humanistic/QWL
In my opinion they in fact two of a same thing, depending on the application of their context to form a sentence.
To use the dictionary definition of humanistic, it is characterized by a
'devotion to human welfare, interest in or concern for man.'
It is a search for
'a doctrine, set of attitudes, or way of life centered upon human interests or values.'
I believe this is very much in the directions perceived by Revel and Reich. A true revolution, Revel wrote, is a
'social. cultural, moral and even artistic transformation, where the values of the old world are rejected, where relations between social classes are reconsidered, where relations among individuals are modifed, where the concept of the family changes, where the value of work, the very goals of existence are reconsidered."
On the other hand, QWL is a by product of humanistic value in a context of work. It is really a description of a situation. Quality Work Life, a balance situation of work and humanistic values. It is a situation being derived through a long period experimentation and observation and part of an evolution of the existence of mankind and its adaptation to his environment. In a way it is an ideal or a concept of how human should live his lifes especially considering the present situation whereby most human beings are burden with the tasks of WORKING in order to survive. Hence even the notion is direct interpretation of how human succumb to his working environment.