Towards Sustainable Productivity – I The Integral Approach

A holistic approach to productivity, with an emphasis on the human and psychological dimension.

The Central Problem

The essence of the problem of sustainable productivity may be summed as: how to maximize the productive output of human beings by harnessing their creative energies in a sustainable manner. The present corporate strategies for enhancing the productivity of employees rely mainly on three factors: first, continuous enhancement of the knowledge, skill and professional competence of employees; second target-oriented work; third appropriate motivation strategies. All these factors are essential for enhancing productivity of people. However we need a deeper and broader and a more long-term perspective and thinking on these factors of productivity to make them more sustainable.

In modern management productivity means quantitatively measurable output for a given input and maximizing productivity means “get more done with less” in terms of cost, time and resources. The early management thought like for example the Taylor’s school, viewed productivity as a predominantly techno-economic and shop-floor problem. But with the advent of more humanistic and psychological approaches to management other factors like motivation and well-being are now recognized as contributors to productivity. However what is still lacking is an integrated thinking and practice which can link the techno-economic, human and psychological dimensions of productivity into a coherent whole.

The Integral Solution

In our integral approach we define productivity as the net creative contribution of the individual to the realization of organizational goal which inturn is viewed in the context of the moral, psychological and spiritual development of the individual and the organization. Based on this broader perspective, we identify the following factors as the major sources of sustainable productivity:

1. Development of Faculties
2. Integral Motivation
3. Sustaining High Energy-level
4. Integral Well-being
5. Interpersonal Harmony and Team-work
6. Accountability and Autonomy.

M.S. Srinivasan

The author is a Research Associate at Sri Aurobindo Society and on the editorial board of Fourth Dimension Inc. His major areas of interest are Management and Indian Culture.

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