Organizational Membership

Personal Development in the Workplace

By Howell S. Baum

Subjects: Psychology
Series: SUNY series in the Sociology of Work and Organizations
Paperback : 9780791403860, 290 pages, August 1990
Hardcover : 9780791403853, 290 pages, August 1990

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Part One: Experiencing Organizational Work


1. Organizational Experience: What People Expect of Work Organizations
2. The Developmental Meanings of Work


Part Two: Initiation into Organizational Roles


3. Organizational Demands of the New Worker: Sociological and Anthropological Accounts
4. The New Worker Responds: A Psychoanalytic View


Part Three: Trying to Grow at Work


5. Becoming a Member: Looking for Work Ability, Work Identity, and Organizational Affiliation
6. Growing In and Out of the Organization: Mentoring and Making Sense


Part Four: Disappointment and Its Consequences


7. Working Without Belonging: Fixation on Recognition, Autonomy, and Power
8. Disappointments Remediable and Irremediable: Playing Toward Membership or Withdrawal


Part Five: Organizational Membership: Problems and Possibilities


9. How Organizational Politics Hinders Organizational Affiliations
10. Worker Development and Organizational Development


Appendix: The Research





This book tells why people want to feel like members of work organizations, and why doing so is difficult. Using case examples, it presents a psychoanalytic perspective on organizational entry and the process of entry negotiations for workers which sometimes lasts years. Interview material shows how workers try to use organizations to develop and how entire careers reflect satisfaction or disappointment with initial organizational experiences.

Baum presents a useful framework for interpreting organizational behavior in terms of workers' efforts to develop. He shows how developmental expectations must be met before workers can identify with organizational goals or feel close to colleagues, and how worker motivation is possible only in organizations that meet individuals' growth needs.

Howell S. Baum is Professor at the University of Maryland's Institute for Urban Studies.


"This is an innovative integration of psychoanalytic theory, sociology of organizations, and consultation that goes beyond sociology, psychoanalysis, industrial psychology and career studies to undergird all of them with a more complex and sophisticated conceptualization focused on career choice and career development. Not many 'how to' books offer a solid theoretical base; not many theoretical books offer modes of ready application. This book does both in an eminently readable way. " — Harry Levinson, Levinson Institute and Harvard University Medical School