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Freedom/Autonomy: How to articulate autonomy and an increase in quality level?

30 January 2019 | Thoughts

Autonomy is the freedom to be able to take initiatives that achieve the goals of the organization as it seems appropriate for anyone to do given his/her roles. It is one of the three basic psychological needs that we all experience at work, according to the theory of self-determination of Déci & Ryan (the other two needs being inclusion and personal development that we will address in the following points).

Obviously, delegating authority to someone is not enough to ensure that they have the right skills, experience and level of awareness to succeed in fully fulfilling this mission. True autonomy – which is not the ability to do what one wants, as and when one wants, but the ability to comply with certain rules and to be able to answer for them (“response-able”) – is not a fixed state; it is constantly building. It requires support and the implementation of strict self-monitoring mechanisms so that the trust given a priori can be effectively honoured, not only in the intention but also in the outcome of the actions. The challenge is,
therefore, to set up an internal dynamic that sets the pace for the development of skills and awareness with a gradual increase in the autonomy of each individual. This requires, as we are experiencing within Phusis itself, to agree on explicit quality standards and roles whose areas of responsibility regularly evolve according to the development of each other’s skills. This is hard work that requires rigour but is the inevitable price to pay to minimize tensions between roles.

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