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Article by Charles Handy on job tenure
Charles Handy
Date Created and/or Issued
Publication Information
The Drucker Institute
Contributing Institution
Claremont Colleges Library
Charles Handy Papers
Rights Information
For permission to use this item, contact The Drucker Institute,
Charles Handy article on how jobs for life may be negatively affecting the evolution and productivity of organizations. Handy begins the article discussing how, during his first job with an oil company, he was given a pension plan which indicated that he would be at the company for life and be cared for after retirement, and how lifetime employment was the objective of every legitimate employer. He goes on to speculate, however, that the idea of lifetime employment has passed due to several disadvantages, and describes the disadvantages in detail, beginning with the fact that all people grow older despite there not being enough room at the top to accommodate ongoing job advancement for all. This has resulted in the middle ranks being periodically culled. Handy identifies the second disadvantage as the implied need to offer everyone some sort of progression throughout the course of their entire career, while the third disadvantage lies in establishing too deep roots in an organization when change is likely to take place. Lastly, Handy identifies the danger of corporate blinkers and groupthink as a drawback of lifetime employment, concluding that lifetime employment is both bad economics and bad morals while suggesting that fixed-term contracts of varying lengths are more preferable. The outcome of this move toward contractual work would be that the career would, to a greater extent, become the individual’s responsibility, and Handy proceeds to wonder whether lifetime employment was really all about control and containment. He closes the article declaring that the best British workers no longer want to bind themselves to any organization for life, and that the loyalty of the best employees must be earned by the organization.
Handy, Charles B
Institute of Directors
Bishop, John
Organizational behavior
Organization theory
Organizational change
Organizational effectiveness
Employee loyalty
Employee retention
Employee selection
Employees - Training of
Employees Recruiting
Employment (Economic theory)
Industrial relations
Industrial organization
Industrial management
Britain and its people
Contracting out
Termination of employment
Charles Handy article on how jobs for life may be negatively affecting the evolution and productivity of organizations, 1989; Charles Handy Papers; Box 20, Folder 2; 2 pages
Charles Handy Papers -

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