Each individual works to satisfy his own need, greed and ego. Each person plays a role in the company’s fitness and has to be paid for his contribution to the same, proportionately.
Why should we work hard for others? This is the dilemma which injects ignorance, unproductivity and set-back in industrial relations. To examine this issue, we must start with the fundamentals as to ‘why should we work at all?’
We have to work because nature has left no other option before us. Darwinism suggests that we work because we need to struggle for our own existence and survival. The theory of Maslow can be seen as suggesting that we work to satiate our existing and developmental needs. According to physics, when a force acts to move an object, it is said that ‘work’ has been done on the object by the ‘’force’. Thus, the ‘need’, as ‘force’, is the agent of change, and ‘work’ is a measure of that change. Where does this force come from?
There are two executive domains of forces—pull and push—that is, ‘need’ and ‘supply’, respectively.
The ‘pull’ is from vacuum or the need side, and the ‘push’ is from the higher energy or strong side, that is, the supply side. As per the rules of thermodynamics, to maintain the natural equilibrium, energy (e.g. heat, electricity, wind, etc.) flows from the side of higher concentration, that is, ‘push’, to the side of lower concentration, that is, ‘pull’. Since all matter including ourselves is created from energy and vacuum interactions, our attitude and behaviour reconcile with the two executive domains of forces— the ‘pull’ and the ‘push’.
In its own form, energy is the pure Godly form. It has no creation or destruction, inclusion or exclusion, attraction or repulsion, etc. It just remains constant, and flows from the higher concentration to the lower concentration side, to maintain universal equilibrium. When it gets into the ‘matter’ form, it plays complementary and supplementary to the entire material world, due to its own nature of maintaining a state of equilibrium in entirety. That is why, everything and every activity in the universe, including our world, is the conversion of the same resource (energy, ‘E = mc 2’) into different forms. This includes conversion of our tangible wealth into intangible efforts and emotions.
Through this process, we devote our available resources to conversion in order to enhance our fitness for survival. Due to our different forms of physical and mental construction, and our situational placement, we become part of a specific domain in pursuit of our preferred field of work. Accordingly, we assume a role to play in the concerned society or Company. Gradually, the pursuit of survival need, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, may grow towards the unbridled greed of accumulation of wealth, identity, superiority, etc. Often, we transverse from need to greed, which gradually makes us short-sighted, impatient, intolerant, cruel, and criminal towards one and all, including self and Nature. Here, the one who is the fittest takes the lion’s share, causing those at the bottom of the pyramid to starve.
The same phenomenon works in the domain of Industrial Relations. The executives occupying decision-making positions feel they are the ones driving the company towards growth, and that the subordinates down the line are lazy, and need to be controlled and driven properly. On the other hand, executors down the line feel that they are the only ones whose hard labour is making the company grow while the higher-ups are enjoying the fruits at their cost. Due to their counter egos, both the parties see the company as a separate entity, for the growth of which, they are the cause. However, the same ego inverts the logic when there is a problem in the company—both ends feel that they are right and blame or hold the other side responsible. How can a person, who was never treated as a custodian of growth, be held responsible for the downturn?
Obviously, the fact rests at an enormous distance from their egoistic assumptions. In common parlance, nobody works for the company. Everyone works for his own need, greed and ego. Any family, society or company is nothing but an arrangement to pull individual resources to get them to grow collectively by being the fittest amongst similar others. Every individual within the company has a role to play in the fitness of the company, and is entitled to a share proportionate to his mental, physical and financial contribution to the entire kitty value. Any effort to acquire a disproportionate right for the persons from either side is bound to create a rattle.
It is not civilised cohabitation but ‘jungle raj’ with the stronger ones pushing the weaker ones to divulge their resources to further add to their strength. Unfortunately, people on both sides have an unbelievable appetite for strength and power. All concerned must understand that only a win-win game can be the sustained and ultimate strategy. No party can be made a looser or winner forever. The pursuit of a win-lose game, which ultimately ends-up as a lose-lose strategy is simply short-sightedness.
Let us remind ourselves of this quote featured in an earlier article: Gandhiji’s trusteeship concept was not meant for the employers alone, but also for the workers as the custodians of public interest, to promote the interests of the community. In his own words, “My ideal is that capital and labour should supplement and help each other. They should be a great family living in unity and harmony, with capital not only looking after the material welfare of the labourers but their moral welfare also”. On the other hand, “while it’s quite proper to insist upon (workers’) rights and principles, it is imperative that they should recognise the obligation that every right carries with it … .. the workers should treat the business of their employers as if it were their own business and give it their honest and undivided attention…..”.
Thus, it is all fair and proper to show the mirror to all concerned, revealing that nobody works for the company or for others. Every individual works for his own needs and satisfaction. Everyone gets paid for his contribution, and once we are paid for, it is our duty to justify our commitment and output. Nothing is free in this world. If one has not performed one has no right to get paid. On the other hand, if one have got the output, one have to pay for it.
The balancing between performance and remuneration is the key to a successful IR and overall growth. Hypocrisy or manipulated estimation does not work for a long time, for either side. The best way to get it is through civilised cohabitation, with win-win conceptualisation from both the sides. Any disproportionate receipt of tangible or intangible earnings is bound to create trouble for both the receiver and giver—immediately or in due course of time on its maturity. If values are not maintained and balanced, they are going to bounce back ruthlessly. Nothing is forgiven in the universal system. That is how the Universe works with all its physics, chemistry, mathematics and emotions!
To be on the safer side, it is always better to work more than expected, so that a positive pull balance remains on one’s side, and things keep moving in one’s favour. If one’s demands are imbalanced, one will definitely be charged with negativity. Do remember Lord Krishna’s and Sir Isaac Newton’s their theory of ‘cause and effect’. Take care!
(The author is plant HR head, Hero Motocorp.)