Founding a Field Theory of Work: Re-Organization through Energy Exchange

Founding a Field Theory of Work: Re-Organization through Energy Exchange

Raymon R. Bruce (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA & University of Electrical Systems and Technology of China, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6098-4.ch002


This chapter traces the origin of the concept of work in five staged sections. The first section examines the question, what is work? Work originally referred to “doing,” that is, work organization, synergy, and energy. The second section develops the Greek word family for work into a dynamic model of doing. The third section shows how nature guides working change through energy exchange. It examines how a work as re-organization model would function in nature's jurisdictional domain of guiding energy exchanges. Nature's laws provide guidance for self-governing latitude to energy jurisdictional domains' evolutionary change. The fourth section examines policymaking as human guidance imitating nature. Policymaking limits individual self-governance to guide a specified social community of people (polis) doing work. Policymaking is explored to see how humans use policymaking to govern themselves and their cultural social groups including governments by using nature's use of laws as guidance. Policymaking is also a form of laying down basic parameters of work as re-organization through energy exchanges in the ambient environment. Policies are human artifacts designed help a social group work well together. Part five presents an issue analysis as an invited Organization Development consultant to help find ways for the Sri Lankan government, the University of Moratuwa, and the apparel and textile industry to work together in their extreme makeover of human resource development of their apparel and textile industry. Action training and research, stakeholder management, and wicked problem issue analysis are the organization development methods used to demonstrate this field theory of work re-organization through energy exchange.
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Whenever physicists get together, they discuss the big questions of physics. (Robert D. Behn, 1995)

We often think that when we have completed our study of one, we know all about two, because ‘two’ is ‘one and one’. We forget that we still have to make a study of ‘and’. Secondary physics is the study of ‘and’ – that is to say, of organization. (S. A. Eddington, 1958)

This chapter proposes a field theory of work as re-organizing energy resources is founded upon the notion that the universe is fundamentally oscillating energy exchange in all its various forms. The paper examines how the appearance of life has adapted Nature’s various jurisdictional domains of to evolve along Jay Gould’s Pathways of Life for nearly four billion years ago on earth to what is now referred to as the Tree of Life. Finally, the paper examines how humans can be self-governed free energy agents of change by imitating and adapting Nature’s guidance model of oscillating energy exchanges described here as duty~cycles to develop and govern their complex cultures.

The paper traces a notion of the work for work back to its origins in the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) culture root language. There we find their PIE Root to be *wĕrg, meaning: doing. Later the early Greek culture used this PIE root to express a word family of their concepts of (ergáths) a worker or agent, (ergon); work to be done, (organon); tools, instruments, and resources for doing work (energeia); and (synergeia)for the work outcome. (Partridge, 1958) An example of how these words in Greek relate in the work of Ctesibius’ Hydraulic Musial wind instrument, organon hydraulis (285–222 BC) These concepts are traced through various PIE family languages to resulting in forms such as work organization, synergy, and energy.

Work as Re-Organization model is analyzed as how it might function in Nature’s jurisdictional guidance of its domain of energy. Primarily the laws of Nature’ serve as guides as to how energy can be exchanged in a number of energy jurisdictional domains within Nature. Jurisdictional domain is used here to refer to the extent something or someone has potential capacity to influence change in inter-reacting with the environment. For Nature’s jurisdictional domain it is the universe. However, Energy can be said to have jurisdictional domains where its ability to be exchanged may vary. Energy’s jurisdictional domains are identified for the purposes of this paper as: cosmic; atomic and sub atomic particles; molecules; organisms, and humans. All energy jurisdictional domains are guided to conform to Nature’s base laws of thermodynamics. It could be better name those as laws of ergo-dynamics since thermo properly refers only to heat energy. The use of law as guidance is also examined as not explicit absolute directions, but limits that they cannot be safely ignored for long. In other words, there is always room for temporary freedom for doing something a little differently.

People have adapted Nature’s guidance model from the need and capacity for doing work to re-organize resources for themselves and for their cultures in order to sustain their lives and communities. Meeting peoples’ needs requires them to re-organize the organization of their resources around them, including themselves, in working together to achieve their needed life outcomes. People create jurisdictional rule domains as artifacts to guide individuals and social groups to self-manage their behavior in their evolving cultures.

What is culture? Culture has acquired many meanings. In ancient times Cicero used culture as an agrarian metaphor that related civilization to the cultivation of the inter-reactions between our organic and our rational intellect. In our modern time, Cris Argyris describes it as the dynamic between one’s espoused theory of action verses one’s enacted theory of action (Argyris, 1997). The crux of the dilemma between our organic forces and our rational forces rests in the nature of the energy and information exchange required of us in doing our work. There is always a gap between deciding what we espouse our needs are and doing the energy/information exchange required to enact meeting those needs. Thus there develops a reality schism between the deciders (policy makers), the doers (people doing the work) and meeting communal needs sharing by the outcomes equitably.

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