Why the profit motive demotivates employees

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An often uncomfortable truth is that many, perhaps most, businesses exist to maximise profit.

  • James Adonis
  • The Canberra Times

In a capitalist society that’s no bad thing, although bad things tend to arise when owners end up over-prioritising the profit motive.

Businesses demonstrate the extent to which they prioritise profits over people in a number of ways.

The obvious one is incentives.

If, for example, managers are rewarded based on how well they maximise revenues and minimise costs and not, say, on how well they engage and retain their employees, you could fairly assume what matters most in that business is the…

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