vineri, 3 iunie 2011
Death, Terror and Addiction in Motivation Theory by David M. Boje & Grace Ann Rosile
Addiction is a slow death. Schaef and Fassel (1988: 5) observe that the study of organizations is in denial when it comes to addiction, not just to drug use, but to processes of work that are addictive. "An addiction is any substance or process that has taken over our lives and over which we are powerless" (p. 57). I think motivation theory leads us into addiction, making work our increasingly a compulsion, manipulating the situation to make us powerless to resist work addiction. Within organizations, addiction to work or workaholism is an untold ramification of motivation theory. Since the addiction to consumption is the norm of a capitalist society, we all participate addictively at some level.
The more stuff we have, the more we become slaves to our stuff. We need bigger house to store stuff, more energy to preserve stuff, more security to guard stuff, and more help to dust stuff. Stuff rules our lives. Our hierarchy of needs begins and ends with a need for more. Motivation theory feeds an addicted society. Motivation theory, be it need theory (McClelland, Maslow, Alderfer, or Herzberg) or process theory (Skinner's reinforcement theory, Vroom's expectancy theory and House's path-goal theory) is blindly embedded in a world addicted by spectacle to work and consumption. Debord's (1967) spectacle convinces us work is our identity and consumption our happiness, and so we eagerly ignore how work life is erected as a performativity experience (work till you drop dead), a flat,dull homogeneous existence that we embrace until we die. Spectacle, portrayed in the media in 6,000 ad-bites a day, presents work and accumulation as our ultimate desires, more powerful than death or sex as a motivator. Stuff rules our lives. This stuff is part of the games of death, terror and addiction. If there is a hierarchy of needs, then Maslow can be de-coded, new words substituted, greed, jealousy, envy, gluttony, hoarding, and addiction. This is the deconstructed hierarchy of Maslow needs.
What is self-actualization? It is an illusion, a fantasy that we are more than animals, that our culture makes us different. We are part of the war machine that Deleuze and Guattari write about in A Thousand Plateaus. It is a war machine fed by desire and will to power, not by need.
We do not need more of what we consume. We don't need most of what we eat, wear, and store. Did Emelda Marcos need 400 pairs of shoes? Did Michael Eisner need a 210 million dollar bonus. Does Tiger Woods need another endorsement contract? Addicts need more and more...
The desire for work is overwhelming, a compulsion to write more, publish more, present more, to go berserk with words. It is a need to work boje to death. I work at home. I work at work. I work on the plane. I work in the hotel room. I am addicted to work. I am a good citizen. I am a good work. I am self-actualized in my work. I have converted my private world into a world of work. I dream of work, I wake up working. I go to bed working.
Beneath this theatrical mask, is a speculation that my needs are addictions, my needs are desires gone haywire, and my accumulation is out of control. I need to motivation theorist to convince me I am empowered, I am growing, I am a high need achiever. I pretend to be motivated, but my need is a desire for death, a working to death.