Ülo Vooglaid




Work is an existential value; everyone has to work.
Only freewill labor can bring pleasure.



Although in some languages the word ‘work’ has a common root with such terms as ‘slave’ and ‘slavery’, work is almost universally regarded as an honor, and diligence is considered a virtue. Specialists are highly valued, while slackers and lazy people are ridiculed.

Work is the realization, the fulfillment of something. Work is preceded by thought. Work is followed by gratitude and satisfaction… Or frustration and shame.

Work is a goal-oriented activity to produce a tangible or intangible product of consumer value, as well as for organizing the environment or providing a service. If there is no desire to achieve at least one of these three results, the activity cannot be called work.

In assessing work, you can assess individual work operations. If we talk about work as a whole, then we should start from the extent to which its result is suitable (and whether it is suitable) for those who consume this result, use it to achieve their goals or fulfill obligations and tasks. At the same time, of course, it is also worth considering the direct and indirect consequences of work.


Work is a goal-oriented activity to produce a tangible or intangible product of consumer value, as well as for organizing the environment or providing a service.


You don’t get rich by working; thinking, creativity, and sales make you rich. Of course, you have to want and be able to think this way, to create and work in a way so that there is something to sell. Something — including the result of labor and production — can only be sold if someone needs it. Selling makes sense if the sales price is sufficiently higher than the production cost.

In society, work has an existential meaning — a society in which there is no respect for labor and the working person is doomed to muddle along. A number of prerequisites are necessary for productive work (see below).

Work is a source of state prosperity only if production and consumption are organized in a sufficiently expedient, efficient, and intensive manner. In order for work and production to be in tune, it is necessary to create a system that allows for providing the conditions for work and production (including infrastructure).

Many states are poor and there are many poor people in countries because they have failed to create and maintain the conditions for a satisfactory system of education, productive work, and equitable use of available knowledge and experience (see 13.1.).



There is a perception that labor education is formed in the unity of labor learning, labor upbringing, and experience. This is sometimes enough to form a craftsman. This is not enough for a citizen. There are two actions in the activity system that are, in principle, coercive. They are studying and working. Whether a child forms the need to be intelligent and wealthy, and is fortunate enough to understand that for this they must learn to think, see, listen, explore, live, create, and work, depends on the wisdom of the parents, teachers, and other people important for the child. Otherwise, the child will see learning as work, as a kind of offensive coercion.

In order to survive in a rapidly changing world, Estonia should achieve what seems impossible for countries with larger populations — the creation of a state committee outside the political winds, such as the Defense Forces and the Defense League (Kaitseliit), where educational, scientific, and cultural systems would be integrated. Otherwise, none of these sectors can be reformed to such an extent as to achieve a satisfactory level on which to build the country’s future.

In Estonia, there is quite a lot of talk about work, but work as a problem has not yet been opened for discussion. No text has yet come out on the topic of work that could be used as a textbook. There is only literature on some work techniques and tools. Adult citizens also lack the opportunity to sufficiently immerse themselves in a system of work factors to make it possible to understand under what conditions work could be sufficiently expedient, effective, and intensive. Such a textbook would be very useful, both for employers and employees, as well as teachers and parents, MPs, and civil servants.


Work is:

  • an action (an element of the activity system);
  • a process (a continuous chain of events in a temporal sequence and logical connection);
  • a phenomenon of social and personal significance (a social and cultural phenomenon);
  • a norm and a value, both in society and in culture;
  • an indicator of the subject’s level of development;
  • a source of added value;
  • a path of self-actualization;
  • an opportunity to receive a wage and attention, achieve recognition;
  • a form of continuous self-improvement;
  • and much more.


These days, when a person can stay in touch all the time, no matter where they are, the executor does not have to be personally present at all where the activity is taking place. The content of labor, the form, significance and meaning, the effort and everything else changes more and more every year. At the same time, work is still work, management is management, decision-making is decision-making, etc.

People of the older generation probably remember that in the Soviet Union — “a state of the working people” — labor productivity was two or three times lower than in many other countries. Why? There have been various opinions on this, but no sociological study has yet been conducted to answer this question.



In some cases, an employee decides for themself what to do and where, how and when to work, rest, or do something else. But more often the employer creates the job, and also determines the order and conditions of work; draws up safety regulations; provides health protection, additional training, accounting of work results, wages and other compensation, including career development, etc.

To achieve success, it is necessary to create a system that takes into account everything that work and professionalism depend on — the unity of qualification, motivation, and orientation; the unity of freedom, order, and creativity (with due respect for order).

In order for work and its results to be in line with expectations and needs, the employer and the employee need, above all, knowledge about the product of the labor, the possible range of consumers, and consumption. Of course, one should also know the work environment: that is, relationships and interactions, health protection, the form and content of labor, the organization, system of measures to ensure cleanliness, rest and safety measures, etc. — everything on which the necessary readiness for labor and the actual labor contribution depend.

In order for labor to be productive, it is not enough just to work. It is not a question of labor conditions, but of the need to provide, if possible, everything on which the work and its results depend.



Work as a phenomenon is one of the elements of the human activity system, containing in some quantity all the other elements of the activity system (other actions, see 7.0.). There is no such thing as ‘average’ work. Each work has its own specifics and imposes special requirements on its executor. At one end of work classification is heavy, physical, health-damaging labor, and at the other end is easy, light-duty work. All types of work can be arranged between them.

People work in a factory, in a field, on a farm, in the forest, at sea… Orderlies, kitchen staff, and workers work in hospitals. There are cleaners working at schools. Most of the rest of the school and hospital staff are doing something far more complicated than work.

There is some kind of work everywhere, including at home, but it is done in parallel with other activities, in passing. For example, cleaning is work, but only a small number of people are employed as cleaners. Most of us clean up in order to create a better environment for ourselves and our loved ones for other activities.

Work, like all other actions, is performed better the more its executor masters (along with work) other elements of the activity system (i.e., other actions).

To describe work, you need to understand (discover for yourself):

  • the form and content of the work, as well as their appropriateness;
  • the importance and significance of the work, as well as their appropriateness;
  • the resources required for the work, as well as their appropriateness;
  • the work rhythm and effort, and their appropriateness;
  • the result and payment for the labor, as well as their appropriateness;
  • the appropriateness of safety measures with work-related hazards and applicable legislation;
  • the appropriateness of leave and other compensation with socially and culturally established standards.

Each specific kind of work can be considered (and needs to be considered for clarity) as an n-dimensional space where at least all of the vectors given here are available.

Work is characterized by:

  • physical, intellectual, and spiritual exertion;
  • tension that arises from a lack of freedom of choice, time constraints, excessive responsibility, etc.;
  • routine or variety;
  • the nature and balance of rights, obligations, and responsibilities;
  • the correlation between freedom and order;
  • the opportunity to participate in:
    • making strategic decisions,
    • assessing results,
    • the distribution of income and other material goods;
  • etc., as there are peculiarities and differences everywhere.

Each work operation and stage requires specific skills, punctuality, and knowledge; it is usually particularly difficult to transition, and to deliver and accept labor results in order to continue the process by which a product, service, or environment is created.


In interpreting work, it is possible (at best) to make a more or less satisfactory description of it, but it is impossible to get a clear picture of it, or understand the reasons for the formation of the conditions, circumstances, and situation that have developed in the work.


The job does not characterize the work. Certification also does not characterize the work. People go through the certification process. Work does not possess health or ethics; a person possesses them.

Based on the above, it should be clear to the reader that not all activities are work, not everyone is hired (some are elected or appointed to office), and people do not go to work, but have an occupation. And, for example, MPs and their advisors do not go to work or hold an occupation — they conduct activities appropriate to their status.



Workers, as a rule, cannot create jobs or organize work. That is the employer’s task. The creation of each new job is an investment that can only pay for itself if an appropriate system is created.

It is advisable to:

  • prepare descriptions for all jobs and occupations;
  • certify all employees and civil servants every 3-4 years;
  • accredit the structural units of an organization every 4-5 years;
  • draw up and publish principles for moving up the career ladder by occupation.

This advice is not relevant for private entrepreneurship — an entrepreneur has the right to decide for themself how to ensure effective activity.

Routine operations are increasingly being performed by robots. It is important to keep in mind that a robot is only a work tool. A robot is not responsible; the person using the robot is.

It will be advisable for an employee and a civil servant to be prepared to work in several jobs. In this case, they deserve additional payment for having this potential. Normally, everyone is given the opportunity to learn and be educated and informed enough to be motivated to use materials wisely, conserve energy, keep things clean, and take care of work tools. In addition, one should learn the safety and fire safety equipment, standards, etc.


Chronic lack of time is a consequence of incompetence.


Particular attention should be paid to the expedient, efficient, and intensive use of work time. Waste and theft of time are major detriments.

Chronic lack of time is a consequence of incompetence.

The reason for this may be hidden in the fact that a person:

  • is able to neither make decisions within their occupation nor carry them out; they doubt and hesitate, wasting time;
  • does not dare to decide; is afraid that the decision is wrong, something will happen, or the bosses have a different vision.

The reasons for delay and red tape can, of course, be inability to anticipate, low motivation, incorrect orientation, caution formed from experience, etc. A person who does not decide anything does not make mistakes. It happens that it is easier for employees who have not made mistakes to get promoted. At first, such activities of incompetent civil servants may be laughable, but after a while, when the authority of an entire management composed of such people becomes unjustified, people around them can no longer laugh.

Each institution or organization has its own conditions, its own local customs, rituals, traditions, etc. It is important that labor be organized in accordance with people’s idea of what is reasonable, appropriate, humane, fair, and right. Each citizen can then independently think about and model the activities that have developed in the area relevant to themself and compare the activities with what is considered necessary, draw conclusions, and give assessments, advice, and recommendations.

By analogy with the personal code (each resident’s individual ID number), a stratification code (see 2.7.) and a self-actualization code could well be used in the future. In this case, every citizen would know their own position, both on the basis of a stratification index and on the basis of an action classification.



Labor conditions act as a whole system. Some of them can be measured, some can be described and assessed. In any case, to consider them, we need experience-based work theory, methodology, methods, and practice. Remember, however, that the devil lies in the details (see 1.0., the law of the barrel). In order to create, maintain, or change suitable labor conditions, it is necessary, first of all, to train the employers, including senior, middle, and lower management. Workers do not create new jobs or organize work, and management’s doors must be open to employees to improve all work factors.


Labor conditions are everything that necessary resources for labor depend on.


For the most part, an enterprise’s management has no idea about labor conditions as a system, let alone an understanding of what should be kept in mind when assessing labor conditions, or an idea of what is dangerous, normative, optimal, and ideal. Basically, everyone knows and understands only what the physical conditions (limits and standards) are regarding noise, temperature, local and general lighting, and air purity, including dust, drafts, and radiation.

Labor conditions are the unity of autonomy, freedom, order, and respect for order, as well as the correspondence of rights, obligations, and responsibilities; moreover, the conditions include the fair conduct of business, the attentiveness of participants in the work process, human responsiveness, readiness to help, faith and trust, a clear relationship between labor and payment, the opportunity for self-realization and self-improvement, preparedness for work requiring higher skills, etc.



What should be thought through before starting work or taking up an occupation? Here is a rather long list, so that readers have the opportunity to think and compare it with the reality that is familiar to them.


  • A goal is set for yourself. The goal must be achieved.
  • A task is given to someone else. The task needs to be completed. Usually, the completion of a task should be reported.
  • Obligations are accompanying.
  • Functions (objective codependencies) exist.


It would probably be necessary to think about the following:

  • where, when, by whom, and for what purpose are the results of this work needed;
  • what needs to be done, in what quantity, and of what quality; who needs to be helped or what condition (environment) needs to be achieved by a certain deadline;
  • who has the right to make decisions about the organization of work (its beginning, change, and end), and who, at the same time, should be responsible for the work, its results, the people, and the work environment;
  • what should an employer and an employee know and be able to understand in order for the activities and results, potential of the organization, and material and non-material environment to be in accordance with both expectations and hopes, and with the requirements specified in written and unwritten laws;
  • what should the employer, the organizer of work, the executor of work, and the assessor of the result of labor understand, and what should they be able to anticipate and recognize in a timely manner;
  • what kind of people and colleagues should the employer and the executor be;
  • when, in what order, and how is it advisable to act;
  • from what is it advisable to make something;
  • which work and protective tools (means) are advisable to use (are supposed to be used) and take into account;
  • what should be the system of measures to ensure that employees (all staff) would like to:
    • engage in self-education,
    • improve their knowledge and skills, as well as the knowledge and skills of other people, while preparing to work professionally in other spheres and in other occupations,
    • rationally use work and free time,
    • conserve materials and other resources and energy,
    • take care of their own health and the health of other people,
    • keep the workplace, devices, and other work tools in order,
    • create the prerequisites for each other’s success and well-being,
    • protect and strengthen their organization’s reputation;
  • what can happen during operation (and its shutdown), and what safety requirements must be consistently followed;
  • how should the communication and interaction system of the institution, enterprise, or organization be organized;
  • how to structure the subject-subject relationship horizontally and vertically in order to attract everyone (all staff) to an active creative search and avoid all kinds of negligence, injustice, harassment, etc.;
  • how should the connections be organized to guarantee each employee the opportunity to be truly and meaningfully informed (and not just formally and in pretense), as well as sufficiently systematically and promptly informed about everything that is required to participate as a subject in substantive discussions and decision-making;
  • how should goal visualization be created for the whole system, an element of which is the specific work or other actions;
  • how should feedback be organized for the whole system, an element of which is the specific work or other actions;
  • how to avoid burnout in people, their estrangement, alienation from work, creativity, etc.;
  • how to ensure the active participation of workers in considering issues that affect their work, labor conditions and organization (including vacation), work environment, labor efficiency, payment and other compensation;
  • how to ensure that staff dignity is preserved (no humiliation), and that all employees, including workers, are aware of the unity of their rights, obligations, and responsibilities;
  • how to ensure the satisfactory qualification (unity of knowledge, skills, and experience in the specialty, profession, and occupation) of staff, including workers;
  • how to ensure proper orientation and sustainable motivation of staff, including workers, in the use of work and non-work time, as well as other resources;
  • how to ensure that civil servants understand that a worker is, first and foremost, a person, an active actor (subject) with their own thoughts and feelings, interests, and will; attitudes and relationships; virtues, values, and norms; myths and taboos; ideals and lofty ideas; and that they understand that according to the Constitution, every citizen has the same rights, obligations, and responsibilities as others.


  • You can be forced into labor, but you cannot be forced into cooperation!
  • Individuals or groups who respect, support, and trust each other can cooperate.



For the most part, work, like any other element of the activity system in Estonia, does not have goal visualization and feedback (see 6.2.). It is impossible to manage actions without having goal visualization and feedback. If someone is looking for the reasons for low productivity, then at least one of the reasons is listed here in this section.


  • Feedback is not just about collecting data!
  • The activity has feedback, if it has been goal visualized (what to achieve) and if the performer actually takes into account data collected on.


Work can have feedback if the subject of labor (the subject of labor as an actor is the one who decides, organizes, and is responsible for it) initially visualized a goal: that is, created an idea of what they should or must achieve. The result of labor should be suitable as an ‘input’ for subsequent processes, and be necessary for something. For feedback, you should make sure that everything happened as intended. The result of this observation should be taken into account in the further organization of labor.

The lack of goal visualization and feedback is not only characteristic of work. This deficiency is inherent in all areas of life and all levels of regulation and management. A citizen cannot be satisfied with this practice. This is something to think about and be active in ordering.

Without feedback, systems are unable to function with self-regulation and cannot change and evolve.



When assessing labor, it is necessary to consider not only the labor itself, but also its result, quality, quantity, timeliness, time and other resources spent, and the impact on the environment and on the executor themself.

This requires collecting a fair amount of reliable data, comparing what is obtained with what was required, and the suitability of the result in other senses, based on both social and cultural contexts. In any assessment, the assessor and community should have knowledge about:

  • what is being evaluated;
  • the basis of the criteria system on which the assessment is taking place or the assessments are made;
  • who should take these assessments into account, where and when.

Assessing labor results is possible if the subject of labor is willing and able to:

  • adhere to the unity of quality, quantity, and deadlines;
  • consider both the result and the consequence;
  • monitor to what extent the labor result meets the needs of the consumer;
  • take into account the impact of this labor on the living environment;
  • monitor whether the results achieved are to the benefit of human health, nature, and culture, or to the detriment of them all;
  • compensate for the damage that may have been caused by this activity.

It makes sense to make an assessment if the assessors are professional and honest, and the assessments are reliable, sufficiently systematic, and understandable; if the managers and organizers responsible for decisions can also be assessed based on these assessments; if conclusions can be drawn, based on these assessments, which will be taken into account in future activities (payment for people’s labor should be linked to activity and career conditions).

If the pay received for labor or other activities does not provide a decent living, there is no reason to assume that employees will devote themselves fully to their work — to learning, to improving work operations, to carefully using tools and resources, to creating the conditions for each other’s success. On the contrary, employees may estrange themselves (see 3.3.) and quit at the first opportunity.


The state will be stronger if the living and work environment is conducive to human development and to preserving the potential for development, rather than ruining it.


Everyone has the right to receive decent and fair recognition and remuneration for their contributions. A wage is not the only factor regulating the system of labor selfrealization. A decent wage should not just allow a person to survive somehow, but also to create a normal living environment for their family, save for purchasing and renovating housing, as well as for old age, in case of misfortune, etc. A wage that only covers the most urgent everyday needs does not generate sufficient motivation.

Some people think that society is only an economy, and therefore they should deal specifically with the economy. It seems to them that by dealing with the economy, it is possible to develop the economy. However, this is not enough. The economy is only one of the prerequisites, as well as one of the results and indicators of the development of society.

There is no clear explanation as to why wages in Estonia are still several times lower than in all the Nordic countries. According to some, the reason for this sad situation is the modest size of enterprises and a weak ability to export. Others believe the problem is the low level of management, administration, and organization. Still others are of the view that the cause of poverty lies in the low surplus value of industries with an orientation towards subcontracts. As is well known, a person who sells a finished product to the consumer earns more income than a person who makes the parts and has to give them cheaply to the one who makes the whole that has consumer value. Subcontracting is a poverty trap, which itself arose because of poverty (was created by ‘friends’).



Estonia has been sufficiently influenced by the desire to attract foreign investors who would create some quantity of jobs. The expected effect has not been achieved, because these investors organize cheap subcontracts here, withdraw their profits by issuing tax-free loans to parent companies, and diligently bypass all scientific institutions. The same picture emerges when preference is given to keeping one’s money in ‘other people’s pockets’ (branches of foreign banks). In doing so, every effort is made to avoid establishing local savings and financial institutions that would reduce the income of foreign banks and allow local initiative to germinate and strengthen.

Practically all reasonably organized states have created effective methods of protecting their market: that is, their producers. In some countries, governments overlook the importance of creating at least a level playing field for their industries. Impoverishment is also facilitated by the EU’s directive socialist way of thinking, according to which the present should be considered an era of projects and programs, and the resources allocated to someone are mandated to be called aid.


If the employer only pretends to pay wages, then the employee pretends to work, but at the same time does not think, does not learn, does not take care of everything around.


The economist Heido Vitsur called Estonia’s situation a wage trap.

There are people living more-or-less satisfactorily while working in organizations that create nothing and produce nothing, and living at the expense of other people, nature, and culture.

Some people live in a wage trap, many also live in a housing trap — that is, people cannot go somewhere else, and there is no work in the places where their real estate is located. And there is no hope for jobs to emerge because the infrastructure is destroyed — there is no shop anymore, no school, no post office, and the library closed long ago. There is no horse anymore, and there is no money to buy gasoline.

It is worth repeating several times and remembering that efficiency is a function of infrastructure. If the infrastructure is insufficient, then it is impossible to achieve satisfactory efficiency. A significant share of investment, as well as the state and local government budgets, should go to improving infrastructure. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before the gap widens.



At best, labor preparation begins in early childhood. Children can play at working, but work is not playing. Work can be enjoyable, but it must be done on time! Work is an activity whose result is necessary. This principle also applies to children who have their own feasible duties — for example, dust should be swept up, the table should be set, dishes should be put away in the cupboard. Industriousness, punctuality, respect for order, independence, bringing actions to an end, and many other personality traits are formed in childhood just through regular efforts.

If these behaviors are not formed in a timely manner, then it will be difficult for the person all their life, and it will be even more difficult for others around them.

Work as a value cannot be formed by coercion, orders, and prohibitions.

It is foolish for parents to assign any kind of work to a child as punishment. The same can be said of civil servants who assign work as punishment for misconduct. Meaningless work, the result of which no one wants, also has a depressing effect.


A prerequisite for a prosperous society is the population’s respectful and attentive attitude toward working people and toward work as an activity worthy of respect and recognition.


Parents and teachers, for the most part, understand that studying for labor is preparation for independent life, for self-realization. It is also often understood that work goes well for those who can think and are able to make decisions independently. Stories about the importance and complexity of work are also necessary, but the real impact comes from the work itself.

The work and learning process, like other activities, has no goals; people can have goals. A term like ‘academic work’ is nonsense. The result of learning should be formed in the learner themself, but the result of the work is located outside the executor. Where, pray tell, can the result of ‘academic work’ be accumulated?

Goals, for example, may exist for a teacher and a student and everyone else who comes in contact with learning, but not for activities, subjects, texts, or events.

It is important to note and take into account that work is an existential value, every person should engage in it, and every employee deserves recognition, attention, and respect.



There are thousands of specialties and hundreds of professions, but preparing for an occupation is the same for all: making decisions and organizing their execution, accompanied by the need to bear responsibility. This is mandatory for any occupation and in any organization — in a factory, a hospital, a school, the army, etc.

Specialty is “eriala” in Estonian, “специальность” in Russian; profession is “kutse” in Estonian, “профессия” in Russian; occupation is “amet” in Estonian, “должность” in Russian.

We can talk separately about professional and occupational training, about training in a specialty, but the real value lies in their unity and trialectic interconnection. (See also 9.2.)

Estonian vocational schools do not distinguish between a profession (vocation), a specialty, and occupation, nor do they distinguish between training for a vocation, profession, and occupation. They are also often unable to separate learning, studying, and education. Emphasis is placed on skills specific to the specialty. The starting point is the curriculum, not the needs formed in society. It cannot be considered satisfactory that students and teachers in vocational schools do not consider a skilled worker as a person capable of thinking for themself. They believe it is sufficient that students learn the necessary set of labor techniques and will only be able to accurately perform the work assigned to them.


  • Workers are hired for work and civil servants are hired for an occupation.
  • Workers go to work, officials perform duties.


A skilled worker (which a person who has graduated from a vocational school should be regarded as) must be able to compare alternative possibilities, find preferable solutions, justify, explain, set goals and select means, establish principles of activity and follow them, evaluate the quality of their work and that of others; and assess the suitability of work results as inputs to the processes for which they are intended. It is necessary to continually improve oneself — to consistently improve one’s qualifications, orientation, motivation, and other prerequisites of one’s professional activity (see 9.3.).

If vocational schools only focus on skills in the specialty, and universities and colleges only focus on knowledge in the specialty, then it is time to sound the alarm! In reality, after all, a specialty does not go to work or get an occupation on its own. The individual who goes there (if accepted) must have the ability to act as an active and responsible citizen in addition to having skills and knowledge in their specialty.

A responsible citizen can and wants to:

  • navigate and take part in making decisions;
  • connect their activities with the activities of others;
  • provide a safe working environment for themself and others;
  • learn throughout life;
  • use every opportunity for self-improvement: that is, prepare for new, more demanding commitments than the previous ones.

It would be natural to give preference to candidates with both specialty and professional training, as well as occupational training.

The kind of learning that does not involve occupational competency in any way cannot be considered satisfactory. A skilled worker, like a technician or manager at any level, needs training to communicate, to create, to explore, and for goal visualization and feedback for both their own and others’ activities, for the taking of risks, etc. (See also 11).

It is necessary to form a national position that a working person is a professional deserving respect, not an outside observer. We cannot count on bringing people from Finland or anywhere else. It has long been clear that people who talk about integrating immigrants do not understand what they are talking about.


It is necessary to form a national position that a working person is a professional deserving respect, not an outside observer.


The prerequisites for learning must be formed here in Estonia, in our own cultural and social connections, taking into account our current and future needs.

It is necessary to link learning with practice for satisfactory labor preparation. Industriousness, diligence, perseverance, punctuality, consistency, etc. are formed largely through living examples and real hands-on work, not by playing at labor.


  • Understanding the essence of work and working people themselves is difficult for those who have never worked and do not know how to work.
  • This is true regardless how prominent position someone operates.


The large amounts of information technology, mobile applications, etc. used today in learning cannot replace real work or labor learning, but must complement them as modern tools. Labor learning is a factor of people’s socialization, merging with society, (see 2.1., 2.2.) and maintaining the continuity of generations.



Work makes no sense without satisfactory management, and management makes no sense without work that needs managing. Work is not performed by a factory, office, or institution. Work is performed by a person. Work is either a conscious action or a set of robotic programmed movements. A robot does not care about the content or result of activity. A robot performs what it is programmed to do.


Only freewill, conscious, and feasible work can be pleasant and inspiring.


If you mandate that a person execute an action, you cannot require a quality result. In this case, a person does what is ordered, and the result is the concern of the person who gave the order. If you formulate a result that should be achieved by a certain deadline, then the executor will think about the expediency of these or other actions and be responsible for their own activity, as well as for the result and consequences.

The same connection exists between a state of being and the process of achieving it. When prescribing a specific process (a set and sequence of actions) to the executor, it is impossible to require that the result will be the state expected by the manager. If you require a result (a state to be reached), then the executor will start thinking, creating, researching how best to organize the process in order to achieve the mandated result (see Figure 2.10.1.).


Labor force quality factors
FIGURE 10.4.1. Labor force quality factors


The result of work can be an object of purchase and sale. In order to meet the needs of the consumer, it is necessary to know the consumer structure and conjuncture. A professional level should be maintained and constantly monitored. All people in an enterprise (not just the manager and deputy managers) must remember: it makes sense to produce something only when sales are ensured.

The quality of a workforce is determined by whether people at different levels and in different roles are able to think systematically, whether their motivation is strong enough, whether their orientation is correct, whether their qualifications are high, whether their erudition is extensive, whether their intuition is clear, whether their affiliation is strong, whether their style is distinct and appropriate, and whether their health is satisfactory (see 9.3.).



Usually, employers are sufficiently educated and informed to understand the goals and means, constraints and opportunities, principles of operation, and basics of assessment. However, communicating with people is much more complicated.

If the executors of work do not really have a say in the organization of work, etc., if they are not communicated with, but treated (see 6.); if they have no opportunity to be informed and no one asks them how things are going, it may happen that people estrange themselves from work (see 3.3.), become indifferent and apathetic, and are not careful with materials, energy, tools, environment, themselves and those around them.

If a person cannot participate in using the results of their labor, and their wage does not depend on the result, they may feel that the work is turning against them, becoming a hostile force. It is hard to imagine anything more terrifying than alienation (see 3.3.).

Attempts to replace employees who grew up in Estonian culture with people formed in another cultural environment are bold ideas, but in general they do not stand up to criticism. The more manipulated employees with laughable wages there are in the nation, the less hope there is for increasing the skilled workforce.