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  • Cited by 5
  • Print publication year: 1989
  • Online publication date: June 2012

14 - Reciprocity at work: the separate, yet inseparable possibilities for individual and organizational development



The title of this chapter includes several terms central to this chapter. First, we are interested in how career processes produce both individual and organizational outcomes. Second, we subscribe to developmental views of both the individual and the organization, paying separate attention to each party. Third, we are concerned with how work arrangements transmit influence from individual to organization, and vice versa. Fourth, we explore the notion of reciprocity, that is, what individuals and organizations give back in return for what they draw from one another.

Our overall purpose is to examine how patterns of individual-organization interaction support or hinder individual and organizational developmental outcomes as a basis for further theory building and research. Our examination will incorporate recent ideas on developmental stages, transitions, and strategic choice and political behavior as they apply to both individuals and organizations. A central question is, how can reciprocity between the two parties contribute to the future possibilities for individuals – and so their careers – and organizations – and so their further evolution?

Our definition of the career is that adopted for this volume, namely, the evolving sequence of a person's work experiences over time. This incorporates all organizational members and offers a “moving perspective” (Hughes, 1958) of how work unfolds. However, our ideas about development are more particular and heavily influenced by recent views of “developmentally normal” patterns of adult development (Kram, 1985; Levinson et al., 1978; Levinson, 1984)1 and comparable views on organizational development (Greiner, 1972; Quinn and Cameron, 1983; Wholey and Brittain, 1986).