Man is a social being who can only survive, develop and achieve ultimate fulfilment by co-operating with other human beings. There can be no personal growth independent of the needs of the people around us. A husband grows as a husband by giving to his wife and children; a lawyer becomes a great lawyer if he makes a positive contribution to securing the legal rights of his clients.
To have relationships of mutual love is an essential element of human fulfilment, and not to be involved in any such relationship is a very great handicap. Research has shown that people who have strong relationships tend to have a stronger immune system, longer life expectancy and lower risk of depression. A person could have plenty of “palies,” “girl- or boy- friends,” and “business associates,” and not to have any loved one as defined above. For as long as one associates with others for what one can get from them, without the element of personal identification, one has no real close or love relationships.
In order to develop as a person, man also needs to be a member of some communities. A community is not just any assemblage of people. While some business organisations are true human communities, many of them are not. Some groups are communities only to a very limited extent, others to a greater extent. There is a tendency to try to make communities and their demands on individuals weaker in order to create space for individual fulfilment.
It is essential for man’s development and fulfilment (the expansion of his freedom for) that he be involved in strong communities. Some communities are oppressive but that is not necessary feature of all communities.
In principle it is possible for a firm to be designed as an arms-length organisation. But nowadays it is especially important for business organisations to be as much as possible real communities. After all, work is the aspect of our lives to which most of us devote the largest share of our time.
In trying to manage human beings, it is always a serious mistake to lose sight of their social nature. Awareness of our social nature frees us from the illusion that independence should be our highest objective and value. People who have been exposed to the economic model of man are especially liable to make this type of mistake. It is important to be aware of this sense of fairness in the day-to-day practice of management. The communities of which they are members are so important, for good or ill, for human beings. A professional person’s values, standards and attitudes will be heavily influenced by his or her work community.