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Charles Handy article on viruses in the workplace
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,
Article by Charles Handy on two varieties of work virus that are affecting organizations and the young people they employ and hope to employ. Handy begins the article describing a certain malaise that has settled over the workforce in offices, with the first viral malaise being described as a fear or insecurity that comes with wanting to please one's superiors or bosses and avoid making mistakes, which results in timid workers, an unattractive environment that will not appeal to the most adventurous and talented young people. The second kind of virus refers to unsustainable working hours in which employees choose to devote their lives to their work, leaving little time for enjoying life outside of it. Handy notes that both kinds of viruses stem from the same need to maximize productivity of managerial and staff groups, and argues that these types of leaner, flatter management structures and operations can only work if a great deal of effort is invested in helping employees make the right decisions, allowing for mistakes and encouraging employees to ask for guidance and instruction when they feel they need it. Letting fear dominate an organization is what makes these kinds of developments impossible. Handy concludes the article emphasizing the importance of balance, and how individuals and organizations should both look for quality and quantity in work and life. Not doing so will result in businesses being populated by only the second-best workers.
Handy, Charles B
Early, John-Paul
Lloyd, Bruce
Organizational effectiveness
Organizational behavior
Work-life balance
Employee selection
Employee retention
Employees - Training of
Employees Recruiting
Institute of Directors
Article by Charles Handy on two varieties of work virus that are affecting organizations and the young people they employ and hope to employ, 1990; Charles Handy Papers; Box 20, Folder 3; 1 page
Charles Handy Papers -

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