I believe that conversations is the primary means by which people co-create social realities. By this I mean the assumptions underlying what we say influences our actions, behaviours and consequently shape the outcomes of interactions with others, which in turn creates our social worlds. This is sometimes referred to as our worldview.
Taking this as axiomatic, I am interested in what social realities are created when we talk about ourselves and others as “workforce, labour, manpower, human resources, assets, etc” rather than as human beings? My sense is that this leads to the objectification of people in the workplace. This begets management techniques that objectify people. It’s a vicious circle. This traditional mechanistic view of organisations has much to answer for the propensity for employees to be treated as inanimate objects. This legacy, albeit in a more subtle form, is still very much alive today.
For the past 15 years, I have been exploring how re-framing organisations as adaptive workplace communities is more conducive achieving organisational goals. In my experience, such communitarian approaches is also more likely to lead to human flourishing in the workplace.
My career to-date has been characterized by me as an insider (Fellow of the British Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), pushing at the boundary of traditional Human Resource Management, towards the systemic notion of developing people and coordinating work through collaborative, life-giving conversations. In the process, I have been innovating what I believe to be a more ethical and humane forms of organizing.