Work & its Organisation > The Essence of Work

The Essence of Work

Special Version of Endeavour

As a whole, THEE deals with endeavour. So what is the difference between endeavours that are work and other endeavours?

Endeavour covers whatever we do. It includes everything from ironing a shirt, to writing a book, to going out to the cinema, to competing in a tennis tournament, to travelling between cities. These may or may not entail work depending on what is going on psychologically and socially.

Social factors like whether you earn money, and personal factors like whether you feel forced (versus enjoying), though relevant to working, are not definitive.

Work's identifying feature in the taxonomy is whether the outcome really matters. Do you accept an accountability for its performance? The accountability may be to yourself or another.

If you can do it or drop it, if you don't have to worry about quality, if success or failure is irrelevant, if time doesn't matter—then it is not work. It is an activity and it may feel like working, but it is not what the term «work» refers to in these Frameworks.

Altering Reality

Work can be perceived and explained in two ways because it is psycho-social.

The output results through making something happen, i.e. work transforms reality in some fashion. (We think of work as «high-powered» or «higher level» when the alterations are of greater scope, depth or complexity.)

There is a large variety of transformations to consider and they must all be captured taxonomically.

Work therefore entails accountability for altering reality.

There is a demand to perceive and think about reality, and then confidently make judgements and engage with that reality in those terms. Above all, there is a need to collaborate with or handle others whose view of reality will differ.

Handling reality by exercising discretion and making judgements is a creative process that demands autonomy. The greater the scope and complexity of a task, the longer the time a person needs to work autonomously. You cannot see these mental work-processes directly.
ClosedSo how do you know work is happening?

While it is easy to say that all work is about being responsible for changing reality, there is a big problem in practice. We do not know reality. No-one does. So a person at work must construct a good enough reality. This occurs by talking about it, i.e. by using language-PH'5.

Our use of language enables us to make sense of reality and the way we «make sense» affects how we think, relate and act to alter situations. This means that work (as responsibility) must be fundamentally understood through the framework for using language-PH'5—currently being developed in the TOP Studio.

Using language for work-responsibility --PH'5QH• differs from just using language for communication-PH'5.


In summary, work necessarily involves:

Originally posted: 11-Oct-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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