For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Worker equality and adult development: the kibbutz as a developmental model"

by Snarey, J; Lydens, L (1990)


Adults' social status, particularly their occupations, is a powerful predictor of their level of moral and ego development. This association's inevitability was tested by examining the relationship of personal development with social status among 3 groups of workers. Results showed that kibbutz workers' moral and ego development were not significantly associated with educational, occupational, or social class standing, but that Israeli city and North American workers' moral and ego development were significantly associated with all measures of social status. In further contrast, work complexity was significantly associated with both moral and ego development only for kibbutz workers, suggesting that they engage in jobs that are appropriate to their psychological development without creating social inequality. Implications for developmental theory and workplace research are considered.

Key Passage

What is the relationship of moral and ego development with work complexity and social class (including occupation and education)? We expected that psychological development would not be significantly associated with measures of social status among kibbutz workers but that the typical association would be replicated among Israeli city and North American workers. In contrast, we expected that psychological development would be more strongly associated with work complexity among kibbutz workers than among Israeli city or North American workers. As communities founded on principles of socioeconomic equality and self-government, kibbutzim provide a work environment that tests the inevitability of the link between psychological development and work status while still allowing for the effective matching of workers with developmentally appropriate work roles. (p.88)


Social Status, Development, Psychology, Worker Equality, Class, Developmental Theory, Moral Development


Psychological Centrality of Work

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