The purpose of this paper is to suggest a frame of reference about the relations between the responsibility and the commitment of employees on the one side and type of organization on the other. The basis is a discussion of the tension between docility and freedom.
Results from earlier empirical studies of disciplinary practices among teachers and warders form the starting point. In this paper the phenomenon of hedonism is added. Hedonism is investigated from a psychological perspective and applied to work organizations with the help of attribution theories, theories on coping and motivation and theories on the conflict between the individual and the organization, i.e. of power, culture and coherence.
The paper has developed a typology on coping strategies in work contexts, which describes four possible “ideal” roles an individual can take, referring to three dimensions, the dichotomy between freedom and docility, the individual's locus of control as external or internal, and the coherence between individual and organizational values.
The model can be used for empirical studies and contribute to the development of work organizations where people feel committed enough to take responsibility both for monotonous and dull everyday tasks and for exceptional and acute unique problem solving situations.
Most studies on disciplining and docility focus on the painful side of coping. Few studies focus on what people do in order to cope with commitment and responsibility. This paper considers the different power struggles embedded in the work context, and give varying interpretations of them.
Sandoff, M. and Widell, G. (2009), "Freedom or docility at work – is there a choice?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 29 No. 5/6, pp. 201-213. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330910965741Download as .RIS
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