The dark and bright sides of organizations (HR Manager’s Bookshelf)

For some, today’s corporation can become a ‘democratic’ entity, offering fulfilling careers. Others see the corporation as a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the great power it wields over people and societies
By Ray Brillinger
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/22/2005

Anyone who has lived and worked in an organization of any substantial size will have lessons, observations and opinions on what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy in the overall experience. Is it a fulfilling place to be or a prison-like environment that stifles growth? HR professionals have one of the best observation posts of all. They often see first hand — and are directly involved in — both the dark and the bright sides of the organization.

Several recent books deal with the nature and effects, for better or worse, of hierarchy, authority, individual and group behaviour, implementing change and that most challenging characteristic of any organization — culture.

There are implications for leaders: how to be effective, what skills are needed, and whether one should even aspire to lead in the complex and often dysfunctional world of the large organization. And there are major implications for HR: how to understand the dynamics, recognize the realities, help people survive and thrive in the workplace. How to develop policies and processes that may change the organization for the better.