Work has always been an integral part of our lives as far back as 776 BC in the times of the Greeks to the present day. As Applebaum states, Work is like the spine which structures the way people live, how they make contact with material and social reality, and how they achieve status and self-esteem. 1. It appears from this quote alone that work is necessary in the development of the human being.

For most, life without work is a tragic downward spiral into the depths of depression, loss of self worth and mental illness which disables them from functioning and developing to their full potential. So what is it about work that enables us to develop In this essay I want to look at the idea of work in a historical context to highlight its relevance in our development. Work today has come a long way from that of the Greeks and so I also want to look at the ways in which the modern workplace continues to try and develop people through Human Resource Development (HRD) and discuss to what extent this is successful. First of all, what is work A simple definition states, Work uses the things and materials of nature to fashion tools with which to make objects, grow food, and control the living creatures and forces to satisfy human needs and wants 2. However, if we are arguing that work acts in developing us then there must be some greater depth and meaning to work. Marie Jahoda 3.

talks about the Latent Functions of work to achieve good physical and psychological health and Maslow 4. Believes work can enable us to achieve our highest potentials and psychological levels. Surely then work plays a more important role than just fulfilling simplistic needs and wants for survival Work i extremely diverse, while at the same time it is characterised by one main issue; the need to make a living as an act of necessity for life. Recognising this diversity leads to admiration for human ingenuity, endurance and skill. Over thousands of years the processes of work have dramatically transformed our planet and has shaped almost all of what we see around us.

I want to look at this development of work, after all The new is generated by both the living and the dead 5. and so I will look at past developments to gain an understanding of work today beginning with the Greeks. The early Greeks saw work as a curse. The word for work derives from the Greek word for sorrow, ponds, which suggest exhaustion, heavy-heartedness and drudgery. 6.

They believed work enslaved a person, taking away his independence which was extremely highly valued by the Ancient Greek civilisation. It was believed that work corrupted the soul and chained a person to another. The Hebrews regarded work as atonement and expiation for the original sin of Adam in disobeying God while at the same time read in the scriptures of mans purpose on earth. In Genesis it states, The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it 7. and the Hebrews enacted upon this. It was the Christian civilisation that began to accrue meanings to work that are similar to that of the modern work ethic.

Like the Hebrews they believed work was punishment from God but at they same time they began to attribute positive meanings to work. It was seen as a necessity in maintaining health in body and mind, reflecting the research carried out by Marie Jahoda in her studies of unemployment in Marienthal where people experienced psychological problems with the loss of employment 8... Early it had been regarded as sinful to collect worldly goods but with the Christians new attitude of wealth as a form of giving charity its evil and wicked connotations began to dwindle. Through charity Gods blessing would fall upon them.

9. Up until this point, work was carried out to attain salvation from God but St. Thomas Aquinas put in motion the process of profit making and ownership of property. For the first time the idea of a Just Price, which involved the exchange of monetary reward for work, enabled people to earn a living.

At the same time, work was only seen as a means to achieve the immediate needs of oneself and family and once this had been fulfilled they stopped working. If you didnt need to work then you werent looked down upon unlike today where those who dont work are seem as idle and lazy. Their leisure time seemed to bear far more relevance to them than their work. It was with the birth of the Protestant Work Ethic that work became intertwined with morality.

Martin Luther said that there was no distinction between working and serving God and infact believed it was the best way to serve God 10. Calvinism continued to strengthen this idea. If one didnt work or simply didnt like work then it was assumed that their pathway to heaven was thwarted. Success at work was considered as a sign that God was pleased with you but for the Calvinists their hard work was nothing if it was not rational and efficient in all forms 10. It appears to me that work served to develop people in a spiritual way. I want to look at this more closely through work in the Middle Ages within the Monastic Movement.

This movement was one of social planning, economic organisation, dedication to manual labour, tolerance of craftsmanship and technological innovation. 11. It is quite a contrast to our capitalist culture which stresses the relevance of labour through its products and has used technology and invention to achieve better levels of productivity in the aim of achieving higher profits. Monasticism, shaped by earlier Christian ideas, saw the significance of work in the process of labour and not in its products. Ovitt (1987) writes, It was centripetal and socialistic in its pursuit of communal self-sufficiency The legacy, the, of the first ascetics and first monastic theorists favoured manual labour, but always as a means to a spiritual end. 12.

Monasticism created a respect for work. It was surrounded by spacious buildings, well-tended gardens and cultivated fields where their work regime was a balance of labour with intellectual effort through reading, writing, discussion and participation in the planning of work activities within the monestry. Mumford (1967) said they, Shared work and the benefit of shared mind. 13. Their work was not fixed for life in one single occupation but they experienced high division of labour. Each worker had equal duty and equal reward, and any surplus was put back into their community to the up keep of the buildings or the purchase of new equipment.

The monks also received medical care and nursing, it was as though they had created their own mini welfare state 14... The system that the monks used showed how efficient work can be when it is organised and planned collectively and when it is achieved through the co-operation not coercion of the workers. In the monasteries the whole man was employed. 15.

which meant every aspect of their life development occurred within their work. By adding the act of study and intellectual pursuit they created a model for co-operative effort on a high cultural level. Anything that was unrewarding, therefore not developing them, was given over to machinery whereas the modern workplace gives machinery and technology as much of the work as possible, even when it results in a meaningless and mindless life for many 15. Why you might ask have I chosen to look at the life of the monks in the Middle Ages and those that lived thousands of years ago. For most of us in the modern world work is not an option but an act we must do to be able to live. How does work in this modern society develop us then It seems clear that work in the past has not been as relevant and was actually looked down upon by the Greeks or it has been used to try and secure salvation.

It seems to have had very little to do with developing the self but rather a means to an end; heaven or punishment from God for the initial sin of Adam. Work wasnt important but the salvation was. People achieved development outside of the workplace through their religion which attended to their spiritual development. The monks were almost revolutionary in their approach to work having implemented many of the modern management techniques such as job rotation, however it was a collective decision making body whereas modern organisations tend to enforce their practices upon the workforce.

What is interesting in particular is the integration of intellectual work with the act of labour suggesting a more intellectual and spiritual level of the human being. Anything that didnt give them a sense of achievement was given over to technology enabling them to live an enriched life. Unfortunately, for many people, this isnt an option in modern society which many repetitive and mundane tasks to done within the workplace. Developing ourselves as religious, moral beings fit for God seems rather outdated in achieving our self-development.

Before I go on to discuss whether work develops us in modern society, I want to take a look at the changing nature of work itself, looking at Medieval Europe between the 11 th and 15 th centuries. One very important source of information about the attitudes of craftsmen towards their work is De Divers is Arti bus by Theophilus. 16. His writings describe in detail the considered conclusions that craftsmen made in regards to their own work, which are shown to be mature and educated in their structure as well as having a clear understanding of where their work fits in the universal order of things. Dodwell (1961) says, Nowhere in the Middle Ages is there so full and sincere an account by an artist of his own conceptions and ideals 17. It is a written expression of his own ideas, in his own words, about his own work and conceptions of his work.

Theophilus, as a skilled craft worker in the working of glass knew in great detail the knowledge he needed to preform the task to the highest standards. He knew the problems that could occur and how to detect them, with solutions to these errors. In doing so he is able to achieve the perfection of the self. 18. Ovit (1987) writes, These medieval notions, which we moderns have reified into R and D and profits define alternative technology that is itself a tool for clarifying the complex relations between the individual soul, the natural world, and the creator. 18 For Theophilus the ultimate purpose of work was to attain perso anl and spiritual goals.

Shelby (1970) in the study of Cooke and Regius manuscripts believes that they reveal a pride in their craftsmanship and a joy of building for the sheer skill of it. I feel through the illustrations in Appendix 1 and 2 this very idea is evident. The Canterbury Cathedral 19. shows the extent to which great care and devotion was given in using their skills to produce a beautiful building for the glory of God. We can see that there was a deep relationship between the craftsman and his masonry: the walls almost breathe his satisfaction and achievement what do we have to show the achievements of modern man The Millennium Dome 20. This can also be seen in Appendix 2 with the dramatic difference in art forms.

The time, attention to detail and devotion of the artist of the first painting by Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638) 21. is a far stretch from the stripes of simplistic colours in the second painting by K alina 22... We are unable to see any form of the artists development in the modern painting whereas we can experience with the painter of the 17 th century. In both cases the modern form of activity does not show the full potentialities of the those working on the subject. Surely the architects of today can produce far more beautiful and marvellous in design than those of many thousands of years ago but we dont.

The processes of today are heavily influenced by the industrial revolution, the work of Taylor and the rationalisation of Fords production line. How can the worker on a production line tightening a screw as the product passes by enable the person to develop his / herself compared to the exquisite work of the medieval mason This is where I feel the problem lies and where HRD tries, for many, to play the role that the skills, challenge, and satisfaction of the pre-industrial society which no longer exist. Perhaps work no longer develops us when it is monotonous and uninteresting. It is said that we know more about how to make a living than how to live. 23 We place economic institutions at the centre of society whereas previously it had been the church which developed the people spiritually. With this change of structure to our society then, how are we developing in modern society HRD is a process implemented within the workplace to develop its workforce.

Since the fall of religion due mainly to the industrial revolution, our moral code of practice has been shaped by the practices of the organisation. Learning, often seen as a sign of development, within the workplace is there to try and achieve improved quality, flexibility and adaptability. It is believed that the learner benefits in ways that spill over from the workplace and through learning they enlarge and develop themselves. They not only gain knowledge and skills through HRD but a breadth and depth of understanding and from this increased self-confidence and esteem.

Beardwell and Holden say that learning fosters development, which in turn changes people and are no longer the people they once were 23. Our development seems to be centralised within the workplace which turns us as humans into a resource. In some respects new employees are a type of raw material to the company which needs to be developed just like a product. This suggests then that HRD is just a way to develop us into a manageable resource for the companys use to maximise productivity.

I have already stated that training and learning with the workforce which is promoted as developing the worker actually only exists as a way in which to achieve better quality, flexibility and adaptability. We all develop and learn from the day we are born, just like all other animals, which leads to the skillful and effective adaption and manipulation of our environment. Our development is for our survival not for capitalist gain. People continue to develop throughout life whether encouraged or not, whether formally or not, whether the outcomes are valued or not. They learn at home and at work, in their social sphere and through their hobbies. The monks were the closest to achieving this with the balance of labour and intellectual pursuit.

What happens when the employee is given the opportunity to go on training to develop his / her communication skills but doesnt want to go and has little choice not to due to pressure from management; does this develop the employee or would it not be better for the employee to choose their own path of development to achieve their own potentialities and not those laid down by the organisation after all who owns our development and learning Work is no longer part of a spiritual journey, so where is it taking us Down the rod of manipulation, exploitation and capitalist gain How can a person stacking shelves in their local supermarket receiving only the minimum wage, ever be expected to develop through his work. There are no skills involved, no reall levels of achievement, unless like the check-out people in Asda who can achieve a Golden Scanner award for 22 products or more through the till in a minute 24. , the shelf stacker can aim to achieve a Golden Stacker award. We should look to the Greeks who placed more emphasis on leisure and work was just a means of chaining the person down and stealing a persons independence.

We seem to believe that work gives us independence because it gives us spending power but surely it is our consumer society that is enslaving us to the capitalist system through the necessity to show status through our consumption patterns. The Greeks developed themselves through the use of their leisure time and work was seen as a mere act of attaining the immediate needs of a person. Too often it is assumed that people will develop through work within the organisation when actually only 10 percent of people ever self-actual ise in the workplace. In conclusion then, it cannot be denied that work is vital to our development as it is the main activity of our daily lives and without it we suffer both physical and mental deprivation. Work in the right context can enable us to grow and develop through the use of our skills, our learning and the social relationships we build within the work context. It structures who we are; our status, where we live, who we interact with and so on.

What HRD and management theorist often fail to recognises is that we are all unique individuals with very different paths of development that we wish to explore. Endnotes 1. Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press Introduction P. ix 2. Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press Introduction P. x 3.

Jahoda M Work, Employment, and Unemployment (1981) American Psychologist, 36, 2 4. Mullins L. J Management and Organisational Behaviour. Fourth Edition (1996) Pitman Publishing 5. Casey C Work. Self and Society: After Industrialism (1995) Routledge P.

1 6. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 7. Gideon Holy Bible Genesis 2: 15 8.

Jahoda M Employment and Unemployment (1982) Cambridge University Press 9. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 10. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 11. Ovitt (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press 12.

Ovitt (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 200 13. Mumford (1967) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 202 14. Mumford (1967) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press 15.

Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 202 16. Theophilus (1961 translation by Dodwell) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press 17. Dodwell (1961) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 238 18. Ovit (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P.

239 19. web 20. web 21. web 22.

web 23 Thoreau cited in Englewood N. J The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall P. 19 23 Beardwell I and Holden L Human Resource Management Second Edition (1997) Pitman Publishing 24. BOR Presentaion Group 12 (2000) 25. Mullins L. J Management and Organisational Behaviour.

Fourth Edition (1996) Pitman Publishing Bibliography Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press Beardwell I and Holden L Human Resource Management Second Edition (1997) Pitman Publishing Casey C Work. Self and Society: After Industrialism (1995) Routledge Jahoda M Employment and Unemployment (1982) Cambridge University Press Jahoda M Work, Employment, and Unemployment (1981) American Psychologist, 36, 2 Mullins L. J Management and Organisational Behaviour. Fourth Edition (1996) Pitman Publishing Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall BOR Presentaion Group 12 (2000) Gideon Holy Bible Genesis 2: 15 web web web web 1.

Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press Introduction P. ix 2. Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press Introduction P. x 3. Jahoda M Work, Employment, and Unemployment (1981) American Psychologist, 36, 2 4. 5.

Casey C Work. Self and Society: After Industrialism (1995) Routledge P. 1 6. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 7. Gideon Holy Bible Genesis 2: 15 8.

Jahoda M Employment and Unemployment (1982) Cambridge University Press 9. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 10. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N. J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 10. Yankelovich D (Chapter 1) The Meaning of Work in Englewood Cliffs N.

J - The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall 11. Ovitt (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press 12. Ovitt (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 200 13. Mumford (1967) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 202 14.

Mumford (1967) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press 15. Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 202 16. Theophilus (1961 translation by Dodwell) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press 17. Dodwell (1961) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P.

238 18. Ovit (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 239 18. Ovit (1987) cited in Applebaum H The Concept of Work Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (1992) State University of New York Press P. 239 19. web 20.

web 21. web 22. web 23 Thoreau cited in Englewood N. J The Worker and the Job (1974) Prentice-Hall P. 19 23 Beardwell I and Holden L Human Resource Management Second Edition (1997) Pitman Publishing 24.

BOR Presentaion Group 12 (2000).