Toward Understanding the Changing Work Ethic

by M. Myers, Susan Myers



This paper provides a framework for understanding the problem of changing work ethics and defines some practical guidelines for organizational behavior, climate and systems appropriate for people of today's values. Based on sixteen years of observation and research, professor Clare Graves found that people seem to evolve through consecutive levels of "psychological existence" that are descriptive of personal values and life styles. Relatively independent of intelligence, a person's level of psychological existence can become arrested at a given level or it can move upward or downward depending on that person's cultural conditioning and his perception of the opportunities and constraints in his environment. Seeing in Graves' theory a possible explanation for many organizational problems, the author's chose a framework, given in the article, for analyzing the problem of disparate values in organizations. The first step was to develop and standardize a questionnaire for measuring levels of psychological existence and for determining the extent to which the various levels are represented in the business organization.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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