Organizational Alienation?

Questoin make manHave you  Heard of Organizational Alienation?  Organizational alienation comes to the forefront with the shift of social systems to a capitalist structure, the industrial revolution, and the advancements in technology.  With the increased need to meet organizational goals, production outputs, and employee efficacy, organizations have shifted to a stricter and transactional work experience, where individuals lose their uniqueness and become part of an infrastructure that is homogenies and allows for little to no individualization (O’Donohue & Nelson, 2014).

Tosi (2009) presents Marx’s theories of subjectivity alienation, class consciousness, and resistance.  These theories are derived from Marx’s ideas that the evolution of our capitalist society is exploitive and oppressive, thus creating a worker mentality of integration without questioning the status quo.  “In capitalist markets systems, workers must sell their labor power and thus become semihuman objects of exchange, commodities, things (Isael, 1995)”(p. 253).

Alienation is dominant in large government and private structures were there are systems and processes for everything that is required of their employees.  In my professional journey, I was able to experience this phenomenon first hand.  With all the levels of management in place, large caseloads, and fast pace environment, employees were completely disconnected to information that was essential to carrying out their jobs effectively.  The work atmosphere was at times oppressive in nature and decisions being made were not part of an inclusive process.  This caused the alienation and the feelings of powerlessness that many staff members would discuss in meeting. A disempowered workforce is  ineffective in meeting organizational goals.

If you have experienced what I described, then you can now name it organizational alienation. The feelings of alienation can be directly tied to organizational structure and models of leadership being used.  If this is happening in your professional environment, know that there are things you can do to create organizational change. As a leader in your organization   you can create an all-inclusive atmosphere and invite staff to key meeting  were an anew sense of   participation provides opportunities to share in the decision making process.  Doing so helps reduce those feelings of powerlessness.  Remember we are humans first and simple changes that promote greater communication provides clarity, increases engagement, and it might even increase performance.  

Ivonne A. Lopez Organizational Management and Leadership Coach

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