Why are the Attempts of Organisations to Enhance the Wellbeing of Individuals Often Likely to Fail: The Curse of Conflicting Needs

Simon Moss, Samuel G. G. Wilson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    According to self-determination theory, when individuals feel their relationships are supportive, their choices are unfettered and their competence is extensive, they experience wellbeing. Many workplaces implement measures that purportedly fulfill these three needs: relationships, autonomy, and competence. Yet, these measures are not always successful. This article delineates a complication of these attempts: Measures that organisations introduce to fulfill one of these three needs, such as relationships, will often impede one of the other needs. For example, to foster relationships, managers may attempt to dismantle the divisions or boundaries within the organisation. As these schisms dissolve, individuals are not as likely to perceive their environment as competitive, promoting trust and consolidating relationships. Yet, after these divisions evaporate, people are not as certain of their specific duties. They are not sure of whether they have fulfilled their obligations, and this uncertainty has been shown to distract their attention from their personal hopes and aspirations of the future, diminishing their sense of autonomy. Likewise, measures that promote competence disrupt relationships or limit feelings of autonomy. This article delineates a set of ideologies and paradigms, such as multiculturalism and equality of privileges, that could overcome these tensions and fulfill all the needs simultaneously.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere6
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralasian Journal of Organisational Psychology
    Volume7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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