In the film Jerry Maguire, when the hero shares a mission statement about how self-interest has replaced love as the reason to do business in the sports industry, he receives a standing ovation from his colleagues but is fired by the management later the same day. Many experience Maguire’s dilemma at the workplace where only the “converts” who can veil their innermost truths and align without flinching to the vector of capitalism are considered winners. Some of us resort to the unfortunate conclusion that cold selfish behaviour is “natural” for human beings in economic situations. This is false. The real reason for moral ennui at the workplace is buried in mainstream economic theory.
Many professionals today experience a dilemma where they must make a choice between being good humans and being good at their job. They are left to wonder how the principles of love, generosity, fairness, reciprocity, and trust that they know to be true about life in general, do not apply at work. Some resort to the unfortunate conclusion that cold selfish behaviour is “natural” for human beings in economic situations. This is false. One of the prime reasons for moral listlessness at the workplace lies buried in mainstream economic theory.