Motivations, Organizations, and Societies

As indicated in our previous section “Being Self-Fulfilled Humans” our belief is that lessons learned about human motivation in organizations can be applied to improve societies. A society is little more than a large, complex organization structured by humans for their benefit. And people in societies have the same psychological needs as people in organizations.  To explore our idea, participate in the following activities based on your personal experiences.

Activity One:  Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Label the left side “Desirable Characteristic” and the right side “Undesirable Characteristics.” Make the lists based on your experiences working in different organizations: schools, places of employment, churches, volunteer organizations, etc. Think about the organizational characteristics that you find motivating and satisfying and those you find dissatisfying and demotivating. Think about your feelings and reactions to both the positive and the negative characteristics. If you worked in organizations that didn’t have many, if any, of the desirable characteristics how likely are you to want to continue working there? Do you think your potential for becoming a self-fulfilled person is more likely in an organization having many more of the desirable characteristics?

 After completing your lists, consider how closely your desirable characteristics relate to the motivators outlined by Frederick Herzberg? His motivators include challenging work, variety of tasks, responsibility, recognition of accomplishments, involvement in decision making, opportunities to do meaningful work, opportunities for grown and development, and a sense of the importance of outcomes. Do you see relationships between your list of desirable characteristics and Herzberg’s motivators?

 Activity Two: 

 After completing and thinking about your lists, consider the following situations in different societies and think how you would feel about living in each. In what situations would you find motivating or demotivating?

Each of the following societies is structured so that:

1.     In A few people benefit from the wealth created by many people, but the many receive a small share of that wealth. That is to say, regardless of their personal productivity the many receive little from their efforts. The economic, political structure is ridged and the many can do little to change it.

2.     In B a single set of religious beliefs are acceptable to the people in power and holding different religious beliefs can result in your torture and execution.

3.     In C the best opportunities for an education and quality employment are reserved for those that adhere to the acceptable religious beliefs.

4.     In D income from the sale of natural resources flows into the pockets of the few people that control government.

5.     In E little, if any, educational opportunities are provided for children of the many. Most money expended is allocated for educating the children of the few that control government.

6.     In F most of the people, maybe 80 to 90 percent, are slaves and their children at birth become slaves.

7.     In G the government belongs to the few people in power and is not the people’s government.

8.     In H types of employment are restricted so that the best jobs go to the few in power and the worst jobs go to the many.

9.     In I, a wealth society, educational opportunities, advancement opportunities, and wealth are available to few, but income from high taxes is used to provide welfare payments, lodging, food supplements, and health benefits to keep the many from revolting against the economic, governmental structure. This arrangement placates those without opportunities, ensuring they are less likely to attempt to over throw the system that benefits few.

10. In I ridged laws establish severe punishments for speaking out against government, including publishing such speech in news outlets or on websites like ours.

11. In J people have no privacy. Government officials can search any person’s home at any time.

12. In K two sets of laws are enforced. One set of laws are enforced against the few, the rich, and the powerful; another set of laws are severely enforced against the many, the poor, the downtrodden, and the powerless.

13. In L all power, wealth, and opportunities are reserved for one racial or ethnic group. All others are provided few opportunities and live in powerless poverty.

14.In M government is structured to appear the be a democracy but elections and vote-counting processes greatly restrict the influences the many have on actual election outcomes. For example, the people in power get to select who gets to run for office. Or different people with the same views run, but outcomes make little difference; whoever wins will establish government, economic policies that will continue to benefit only the rich and powerful.

15. In N educational materials used in schools are biased so that children’s educations are limited in ways to support maintaining the status quo and perpetuating a society with undesirable characteristics.

16. In O information published in the media is biased so that people’s knowledge is limited in ways to support maintaining the status quo and perpetuating a society with undesirable characteristics.

17.In P the military and police are control by those in power and are used to keep the many in line.

18. In Q news and entertainment outlets, like the government controlled by the rich and powerful, continually publish materials that highlight threats such as tragedies, wars, sever weather, climate issues. The only solutions to overcome these threats support bigger and more powerful government.

19. In R when the rich and powerful fall out on national issues, resulting in a civil war the many are powerless pawns having no capabilities to influence their destiny. When society falls into anarchy as a result of civil war the many become refugees fleeing to nations with more desirable characteristics.


 How would you, our reader, feel about living in a society with any of these characteristics? Would you would want to live and raise children in such a society? Do you think such a society would be a place where you could have your psychological needs met, a place where you have the potential to be a self-fulfilled person? Do you think a society that includes any of these characteristics is the type society Jesus wants people to live in.

These are the issues we want you to think about and seek additional information about.  In our next sections will we discuss the three types of societies we originally mentioned: hunter-gatherer, class-based, and the type of society we think Jesus wants people to live in. It is necessary to understand the hunter-gatherer because it is the ancient type of society from which other societies developed and hunter-gatherer characteristic in found in societies today.

We particularly want to point out the above words, “seek additional information about.” It will surprise many that most societies today are class-based and include many of the characteristics listed above. The United States includes some of them as we attempt to transition from a class-based society with slavery. We do not want you to take our word for what we publish on our website. We want you to read about these issues. A great deal of information is available on the internet that supports the information included and is there for anyone to read and think about. We sincerely hope you will.

 We are recognized by the IRS as a non-profit. Your generous donations will be tax deductible.

© By Joseph L. Bass, EdD and Barbara P. Starkey-Bass April 2016 -