The Dynamics of Prosperity: A Framework

Which do you think is the better attitude towards prosperity of the business or organisation for which you work:

We don't usually admit to thinking in the second way, but does it surreptitiously influence what we do on a day to day basis? Suppose I am an employee of a business. I am faced with day-to-day decisions:

The answer to questions like this indicates what framework of reward or recompense is in place in the culture and context in which we operate. The underlying framework that I tacitly hold about from what deliberate actions prosperity tends to come.

The framework determines what we believe will lead to prosperity and what will not. Whatever framework is in place at any time, in any context, will have a large influence on what individuals will do in order to prosper. It is the framework of the dynamics of prosperity.

Good frameworks reward human functioning that is of high quality in a variety of ways and of genuine benefit, and discourage poor or harmful functioning. Bad frameworks do the opposite. The first framework above ("I should try to create high quality products for those who need them.") encourages high quality workmanship, good identification of needs and good product design, and also, indirectly, such things as trust, dignity and generosity, while the other encourages cheating, law-breaking and mistrust. Most of our frameworks are in between.

Not only must we have good frameworks, but it is important that we understand the frameworks in which we operate and clearly identify them because:

The questions we started with can help us identify and understand our frameworks: "To what do business people devote their time, effort and thinking, to enhance the prosperity of their companies?"

Good frameworks

Here are some suggestions for what might indicate a good framework, a list of answers that might be given when operating under a good framework:

Those are the kind of thing we might find in textbooks on management, though using slightly more ethicalised language than the books would.

The Actual Framework

But the actual practice, on the ground, is different. Here is a list of what we actually find ourselves spending our time and effort (the best portions of our lives) on. These are the kinds of things that my line manager will tell me to do, or his senior manager will tell him to ensure.

These answers indicate a framework that is not quite as bad as the one that promotes evil and chaos, but is one in which many essentially unnecessary activities are rewarded, and many essentially good activities are not rewarded. It is, to say the least, an unhealthy framework.

A large proportion of the human resource of this country is being expended on such activities by those who have the prosperity of their companies at heart, because they are the ones that are deemed to bring reward and prosperity. Not in producing actual benefit.

A Call

We call upon the Government to wake up, and establish a more healthy framework. This will, of course, take time. The ship of state cannot be turned round on a sixpence. But the process of healing should be started now. We call upon Government to:

We call upon business people to wake up, and come together to foster good parts of the framework as far as possible. Of course, it is difficult to go totally against the frameworks that are in place. But no framework is totally rigid, and there is always some element of rewarding good functioning that is possible. And, in at least some ways, business sectors and professions themselves can forge their own partial frameworks. We call upon business and the professions to:

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden at all dates below. Comments, queries welcome.

First written: 24 August 1999. Last updated: 7 February 2001 email. 22 May 2005 new intro. 19 November 2006 unet. 21 April 2014 rid ../.