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A New Social Contract for the New Millennium

Author: ANNE OSBORNE KILPATRICK
Published in PAM, Vol. 4 No. 2

This article suggests, through the use of premises, that these times dictate the need for a new social contract between employer and employee. The origins of this contract originate in the organization development research of the 1980s, and suggest that public organizations can support the cause of democracy within and through administration. Premises include the following: Trust in public institutions and their leaders is perhaps at an all-time low. Organizations and their leaders need to rebuild trust in their institutions and among their employees. Our administrative systems are harmed, in part, because most people do not understand the difference between elected and appointed public servants, and the rules that govern their selection and oversight; the result is a perception of blurred lines between elected and appointed officials. Healthy organizations are possible. The focus in leadership literature on ethics, spirituality and personal characteristics, combined with principles which have been reinforced by the quality movement, suggest a positive future for healthy workplaces. A new social contract can help to fix the system. Developing and maintaining healthy workplaces offers a laboratory in which to practice true participatory democracy. This article suggests, through the use of premises, that these times dictate the need for a new social contract between employer and employee. The origins of this contract originate in the organization development research of the 1980s, and suggest that public organizations can support the cause of democracy within and through administration. Premises include the following: Trust in public institutions and their leaders is perhaps at an all-time low. Organizations and their leaders need to rebuild trust in their institutions and among their employees. Our administrative systems are harmed, in part, because most people do not understand the difference between elected and appointed public servants, and the rules that govern their selection and oversight; the result is a perception of blurred lines between elected and appointed officials. Healthy organizations are possible. The focus in leadership literature on ethics, spirituality and personal characteristics, combined with principles which have been reinforced by the quality movement, suggest a positive future for healthy workplaces. A new social contract can help to fix the system. Developing and maintaining healthy workplaces offers a laboratory in which to practice true participatory democracy.

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