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Psicologia em Estudo

Print version ISSN 1413-7372On-line version ISSN 1807-0329

Psicol. Estud. vol.25  Maringá  2020  Epub June 19, 2020 



Elina Eunice Montechiari Pietrani2  3

Ana Maria Lopez Calvo de Feijoo4

2Universidade Veiga de Almeida, Departamento de Psicologia, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil.

4Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Departamento de Psicologia Clínica, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil.


This study sought to explain how the demand for productivity is present in the training and development process that is articulated in organizations by Psychology. Through thinking based on technocracy, the relationship that the worker has with his work and, according to his qualification, started to be measured by his production, a fundamental requirement for the maintenance of the individual in the organization. Based on phenomenological-hermeneutic thinking, as elaborated by Martin Heidegger, the objective of this study was to present another proposal in psychology and its practices in the organization. In this proposal, we sought to shift the emphasis placed on excessive productivity to the singular process, in order to value the way in which each one articulates with his work task. With this, it is important to think about how each one appropriates his relationship with work, considering that the demand for excessive production is built in the epochal context, in which work and the worker has been articulating and what Heidegger calls the era of technique.

Keywords: productivity; organizational psychology; phenomenological-hermeneutic psychology


Neste estudo procura-se explicitar como a exigência de produtividade se encontra presente no processo de treinamento e desenvolvimento que se articula nas organizações pela psicologia. Por meio de um pensar calcado na tecnocracia, a relação que o trabalhador detém com seu trabalho e, por tabela, sua qualificação, passou a ser medida pela sua produção, requisito fundamental para a manutenção do indivíduo na organização. Com base no pensamento fenomenológico-hermenêutico, tal como elaborado por Martin Heidegger, o objetivo deste artigo é apresentar outra proposta em psicologia e suas práticas no contexto corporativo. Nesta proposta, procura-se deslocar a ênfase depositada na produtividade excessiva para o processo singular, de forma a valorizar o modo como cada um se articula com sua tarefa laboral. Com isso, importa pensar como cada um se apropria de sua relação com o trabalho, considerando que a exigência de produção excessiva se edifica no contexto epocal no qual o trabalho e o trabalhador vêm se articulando e que Heidegger denomina de era da técnica.

Palavras-chave: Produtividade; psicologia organizacional; psicologia fenomenológico-hermenêutica


En este estudio se busca explicar cómo el requisito de productividad está presente en el proceso de formación y desarrollo que se articula en las organizaciones por la Psicología. Por intermedio de un pensamiento basado en la tecnocracia, la capacidad del trabajador comenzó a medirse por su producción, un requisito fundamental para el mantenimiento del individuo en la organización. Basado en el pensamiento fenomenológico-hermenéutico, como elaborado por Martin Heidegger, el objetivo de este artículo es presentar otra propuesta en psicología y sus prácticas en la organización. En esta propuesta, el énfasis pasa de la productividad excesiva al proceso singular para valorar la forma en que cada uno se articula con su tarea de trabajo. Con esto se trata de respectar el hombre singular según su ritmo, ya que cada uno se apropia de su manera de la relación con el trabajo, teniendo en cuenta que la demanda de producción excesiva se construye en el contexto actual en el que el trabajo y el trabajador se han estado articulando y lo que Heidegger llama de era de la técnica.

Palabras clave: Productividad; psicología organizacional; psicología fenomenológico-hermenéutico


The psychology of work in its theories and practices corresponds, in large part, to the requirement of demanding productivity from workers on the part of organizations. For this reason, organizations invest in the process of improving people at work to achieve this goal. In this way, the condition of man to meet this demand is relegated to the background. According to Han (2017b), it is this race of man to become productive like the machines he deals with that configure the society of tiredness in which we live.

The process of training and developing people is allied with strategic actions of the organization, breaking down in a set of planned and calculated sequences, aiming to achieve the objective of enhancing the condition of the company in the scenario in which it is. Such conception is defended by Melo, Pereira, Oliveira & D’Elia (2015, p. 48), who say that “[…] understanding the development of people as strategic involves aligning the way to expand individual capacities to the goals and paths set by the organization”. For these authors, the process is related to the need to adjust and involve the worker to the conditions of the socio-historical horizon of work, as well as to their training, in order to maintain the support for new technologies and innovation of organizations, which, in theory, boosts organizational productivity.

In order to rethink the process of training and developing personnel for the purposes of productivity, it is important to question the model employed by psychology at work, immersed in the determinations of the world that Heidegger (2007) called as the era of technique. This, according to the thinker, would have started with the period known as the modern world, which, in turn, is understood as a time determined by a new interpretation of the world in its entirety. Through such determinations, man has abandoned the ability and willingness to dwell on what is happening around him and to appropriate the ways of being fast, productive and efficient that are so valued today. The modern man, crossed by the atmosphere of technique and the calculating way of thinking (Heidegger, 2001), no longer lingers in meditative thinking (Heidegger, 2001) about things, starting to act in an automaton way. And the more man becomes an automaton, the more he forgets his rhythm, his need, in short, his cadence.

Abreu and Melo (2019), in line with Heidegger’s reflections on the contemporary way of thinking, argue that psychology applies pragmatic, positivist thinking in the organizational field, in which relationships, whatever their nature, are established by the nexus of efficiency, so that any and all actions are linked to tangible and measurable results. In this era of pragmatism, man came to be considered as an object and his subjectivity became subjected to calculation, measurement and control for the purpose of unlimited production.

Going along with the thought formulated by Heidegger (2007) on the way of behaving of modern man and with the considerations of Abreu and Melo (2019) on the domain of pragmatism in the organizational field, we consider that the process of qualifying people in organizations seems to have a single direction, which is to be carried out in a calculated and planned way. All of this aiming to take human behavior as a service to an objective: unceasing productivity. It is worth mentioning that this productivity, as a cadence of the technical age, is not merely a characteristic of the organizational field, but the keynote of the entire current era, which is crossed in the different ways of being, doing and thinking of man. Thus, terms such as competence, corporate education, professional updating increase in the organizational environment, even though the objectives that drive them remain unchanged: unceasing productivity.

Organizational psychology corresponds, to a large extent, to modern determinations and guides its task by analyzing, measuring and controlling human behavior, encompassed by the demands of productivity and based on theories about this behavior. With this objective in mind, one can follow Ferreira and Abbad (2014), for example, when they share the importance of raising training needs and aligning them with strategic objectives of the organization. Scorsolini-Comin, Inocente and Miura (2011) emphasize, in turn, the importance of training evaluation as a way of controlling and instrumentalizing decision-making, aiming at reprogramming training or bringing it closer to organizational objectives.

In order to be able to think of another way in which the psychology professional deals with the demand for excessive productivity in the organizational field, this proposal is based on the reflections of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, regarding the determinations of the modern world. This study aimed to reflect on the process of training and development of the worker, weaving an analysis on this mode of practice in psychology, which is immersed in the orientations of the world of technique for purposes of productivity, as Heidegger warned. We will seek to think about this task of psychology, regarding other perspectives that are not only by means of rationalization and the achievement of results, as historically it was constituted, but by the work taken as a task that cannot be compared with the way of making of machines.

Productivity as a result of training and development in organizations

The terms ‘training’ and ‘development’ are commonly used when referring to investment in worker productivity. Both terms are defined in a specific way, although inserted in the same conceptual dimension. Noe (2015, p. 6) refers to the term ‘training’ as the planned effort of an organization to provide the knowledge and skills needed by the employee in their day-to-day tasks. The term development, for this same author, in turn, “[…] is similar to training, but more focused on the future […]”, feeding the needs of the worker, with perspective on future positions in the organization.

Some authors (Vargas & Abbad, 2006; Masadeh, 2012) warn of the fact that such terms evoke a plurality of concepts such as ‘education, qualification, training’, making this process endowed with relative indeterminacy, which, in a way, compromises the project to plan, elaborate and create organized actions for the training and professional development of people.

The training and development of people are usually carried out through previously defined and planned steps, starting with the needs assessment, generally based, as mentioned above, on the organization's strategic objectives, going through the outline and execution until reaching the program evaluation, which will check the extent to which the trainee reached the objective proposed in the initial survey (Melo et al., 2015; Noe, 2015). The promotion of training and the development of people in organizations, therefore, starts from previous conceptions guided by the requirements of efficiency and productivity. Through systematic steps, it strives to control the results, assuming human behavior as predictable, therefore, capable of being modeled in line with the needs of a given situation.

The process of developing people in the organization, therefore, involves a causal relationship between man and his work, since it takes place in a process of diagnosis and prognosis, a model used by modern organizational psychology. Thus, the training needs are assessed (the diagnosis), through the detection of the aspects that have to be developed by the worker, which are generally based on criteria pre-established by the organization, on theoretical concepts about human behavior (the leader should be like this or that way) or in other pre-established forms. From there, making the prognosis (possible effect generated by the training), a certain program model will be applied to be followed to meet the needs raised. We see, in this way, that the worker’s relationship with work is ignored, to give way to previous conceptions about how that relationship should be. Although the terms training and development have been replaced by ‘corporate education’ and ‘corporate learning’ (Kops, 2013; Melo et al., 2015), this doing of organizational psychology remains supported by planned techniques and strategies, with the objective of ultimate control over man’s productivity at work.

This model of education for work takes place under a new historical capitalist period, which began in the last decades of the 20th century, arising from an economic crisis that quickly imposed “[…] a real employment crisis” (Linhart, 2007, p. 11). The flexibilization of work processes, added to technological advances, automation, the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’, have been providing and generating new relationships within the labor field. The latter, which currently has expanded to the so-called ‘deep learning’, is defined as a set of practices, technologies and methods that aims to simulate, electronically, tasks that would, in theory, be exclusive to humans, such as the discovery of patterns, problem solving and decision making. Present in various segments of daily life, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ also influences organizations about the worker’s performance, which is analyzed through a database, electronically installed on the premises of the Human Resources sector of companies. In this way, decisions about what the individual needs to improve also happen from the information extracted online.

Melo et al. (2015, p. 15) show that the society of the 21st century, based on knowledge, suffers from the continuous and intense impact of the “[…] speed and variety of information and knowledge produced by human reason and enhanced by technological progress […]”, which also impacts the workers’ learning process, requiring them to constantly update in relation to knowledge and the interconnected electronic systems, in order to apply them in the production process, which is increasingly changing. Thus, according to the authors,

Productivity increasingly depends on the ability to apply information in business daily life, transforming data and information into knowledge, the construction of which is no longer the unilateral product of isolated human beings, but of a vast dispersed collaborative cognitive network with participation of human students and artificial cognitive systems (Melo et al., p. 15).

Educational formation, through the formal education chain, has also been increasingly supported by the skills required in the production process (Mourão & Puente-Palacios, 2006; Cezar & Ferreira, 2016; Pietrani, 2019). In this sense, the qualification of people is taken for its permanent character, as it requires the individual to be constantly vigilant with the uninterrupted changes in the world of work. It is an accumulation of knowledge from an early age, with a view exclusively to meeting the imperatives of an economic system, even though this fact does not represent a guarantee of permanence in employment.

The qualification focused on work includes, according to Mourão and Puente-Palacios (2006), also thinking about the role of the State in this process. This, practically all over the western world, has increasingly left the scene, delegating the educational process to private organizations. “The State has ceased to be seen as the sole provider of social welfare, and companies have also started to assume this role” (Mourão & Puente-Palacios, 2006, p. 43). By placing the qualification in the hands of private institutions, education loses its reflexive character, to focus on the demands of work, depriving the individual of thinking about the world, about him/herself and about the social role of work, using only to its functionality. Bourdieu (2015, p. 147) also highlights the direction that the education system took when orienting itself fundamentally as a utility in the economic sector. He says: “[…] the interests of workforce buyers lead us to reduce the autonomy of the ES [Education System] to a minimum, placing it [...] under the direct dependence of the economics”.

In this sense, the training of the individual is in line with what is currently called ‘employability’, defined as the ability of the worker to enter and ascend in the formal labor market. When referring to the dialectics education and employability, Aranha (2001, p. 281) points to “[…] the responsibility of the worker for obtaining and maintaining his/her job, through a continuous process of formation and improvement”. It is an obligation imputed to the individual and involved in a humanistic and meritocratic discourse: humanistic because it is based on a conception of man as a rational, free and capable being; meritocratic because it is based on the concept of effort and reward, in which it would be enough for the individual to be diligent with him/herself and his/her career to be rewarded with what is called professional success.

Mourão and Puente-Palacios (2006, p. 42), however, see the question of employability as a neoliberal rhetoric, based on the very unemployment that has been plaguing the world of work. They consider that “[…] the concept of employability, clearly supported by growing unemployment, makes the responsibility for seeking to meet the training demands demanded by the productive sector fall on the citizens”. The authors emphasize, however, that “[…] professional qualification [...] is not a process unrelated to people’s living conditions” (p. 44). For them, the discourse of meritocracy assumes that every individual has the same conditions to climb the steps on the professional scale and not only ignores the growing movement that has been taking place within organizations in the form of privatizations, mergers, lowering costs, etc., in addition to external factors resulting from the economic, financial and even ecological crises that accompany the capitalist system. These are aspects that often result in mass layoffs, regardless of the individual’s level of knowledge.

Antunes (2018) also warns of the explosion of digital culture, which has been contributing to a new morphology of work, such as that mediated by digital applications and platforms, where the worker is now a proletariat of services in the digital age. Also known as the ‘Sharing Economy’, Slee (2017, p. 23) argues that this business model in no way comes close to its promised social cause, solidarity and cooperation. For him, such a model, in fact, “[…] has a darker face, defined by centralized control […]”, in which service providers, in addition to long working hours, unprotected from any labor guarantee, have their performance under constant monitoring by the service user.

Antunes (2018) and Slee (2017) denounce not only the precariousness of this model of work, through the ruin of social rights and the intensification of working hours, but also call attention to the dismissal of unfulfilled life projects, which includes also professional choices initiated in training and that, often, are abandoned to give way to the dispute for survival. Jean-Marie Vincent (1977) also criticized teleological work, showing that in the fragmentation of this model of work there is also a fragmented subject: in relation to himself, to others and to work in its material and social character.

In view of this, it is seen that man emerges as the element that is appropriated by capital, so that, dominated and controlled, he can serve its potentialization and expansion. It is now an appropriation not only technical, but also the subjective aspects of the individual. It is the “[…] ‘capture’ of subjectivity” (Alves, 2011, p. 111, author’s emphasis) that is at stake by the logic of the current work and that is also scanned to be put at the service of productivity, aiming, ultimately, a better position of the company in the market ranking.

This way of the worker appropriating the knowledge of his/her work task has been naturalized by the psychology of work, which, immersed in this historical horizon of productivity of the modern era, echoes this development model and perpetuates it in his/her daily work in organizations. When guiding its actions by these principles, psychology started to take man’s subjectivity in his professional development process as an object capable of being modeled and, thus, supposedly controlled in his behavior. Aligning with the positivist model, psychology of work started to deal with existence mechanically and, in a way, to ignore man in his most proper condition, which is why it reduced the worker to an encapsulated subjectivity and, as such, able to be measured and controlled, as well as other natural beings.

Han (2017b) points out that this is a neuronal time in which disorders such as depression, attention deficit, hyperactivity syndrome and Burnout syndrome appear. According to the author, these are pathological states that result from the excess of positivity, that is, from the excessive rationalization about the relationships that the individual engages with the things around him/her, in this case the work, having to correspond in a planned and calculated way to the demands that come to him/her, with no space for the emergence of his/her uniqueness and the contradictions that are his/her own.

Exercise and Appropriation of Labor Task: A Phenomenological-Hermeneutic Psychology Proposal

How, then, to think about the task of psychology in organizations, dispensing with positive elements, since we are in a society of positivity? (Han, 2017a). Han proposes to return to a society of negativity. Phenomenological-hermeneutic psychology also proposes to think of man in his original negativity. This negativity, addressed by Han and phenomenological-hermeneutic psychology, concerns the indeterminacy by which man is constituted in his openness. It is for this condition that man sustains his freedom and uniqueness, even if in the cadence of the world he is tempted to constitute himself, by means of the hegemonic determinations of the world in which he is.

By safeguarding the character of indeterminacy and uniqueness of existence, we will seek other ways of thinking about man in his relationship with work and, more specifically, in his professional project, which are much more articulated as an exercise of the task and less with training; and in which the possibility that each one keeps the appropriation of his task is still considered much more than the development of it.

When thinking with the philosopher of ‘Daseinsanalysis’, Martin Heidegger, it appears that the field of psychology practice focused on the process of training and developing people at work is deeply rooted in the determinations of a time that he called as it called the ‘era of technique’. For Heidegger (2007), the era of technique refers to a cadence that evidence behaviors in the way of calculation and utility. For this thinker, man, faced with the dazzle of science, lost the capacity for reflection and began to consider all things only under their relation of cause and effect, under the efficiency and productivity always developing. Without these positive attributes, things are worthless. It is a thought that only calculates and quantifies, with total oblivion of another way of being close to things, that is, meditating, contemplating and articulating with the things around you.

It turns out that calculating thought, conceived as the capital thought of the modern era, takes all things, as well as man, for utility and usefulness. That is, creativity, emotion and imagination must be treated as attributes available to an objective. Objective that converts into tangible results, in order to have its utility validated. In the context of organizations, these attributes are used in the service of continuous productivity, from which all possible yield must be extracted. Productivity must never cease as it does with machines. Thus, prevails the idea that the technique operates in an instrumental and anthropological way, even seeming that it is the man who is in control, however it is the determinations of the world of technique that assume the post of controller of existence.

It is known that scientific thinking has many benefits experienced by man today. In this sense, it is not a question of criticizing science and its intervention in the modern world. What is discussed in this work is a uniquely scientific way of thinking that places man himself as an object of manipulation by the categorizations of this doing, in the same way that objects are studied and controlled by other sciences such as Physics and Mathematics, for example.

Productivity, as thought by Heidegger (2007), was established in the modern world as an absolute truth and, crossing the different ways in which man relates to the various instances of his existence, is the premise of a world that it is only conceived by technicality and the effectiveness of relationships.

In organizations, the concept of productivity was introduced and developed with the objective of increasing performance (King, Lima, & Costa, 2012). In this way, several methods to measure productivity have been developed over time, but often associated with the input (resources) and output (results) model. The awakening to the personal development process, therefore, involves questioning the way in which this process is taken by psychology, which indicates that it is immersed in the world orientations involved by technocratic thinking, as it is supported only by the productivity criterion of the modern era.

In the quest to transcend the technical pragmatism of the modern era, Heidegger (2007) seeks among the Greeks the essence of technique and its production. Thus, it goes back to Aristotle’s four causes: the material cause, the formal cause, the final cause and the efficiens cause. Under these four causes, Greek philosophy conceived that production included: the material from which the product is made; the shape, the appearance that the product will have; the purpose, the end for which the product is produced by means of the material and the form used; and, finally, the efficiens cause, which refers to the artisan who ‘operates the effect’, who ‘works the effect’ (Heidegger, 2007), that is, the finished final product. By Greek thought, these four modes, together and committed to each other, are co-responsible for the discovery of what is hidden, letting the production of something come to light. For Heidegger (2007), modern technique reduced its representation solely to the question of operating effect, that is, the operation of aiming at results. Fixing only in the search for the reach of the effects, it stopped worrying about the raw material, the purpose and, mainly, with man. It is in this sense that the conception of modern technique, as a means to reach an end and the making of man, corresponds to a historical horizon based predominantly on the thought of efficiency.

However, such a model, by ignoring existence, conceals the possible meanings that it can manifest about the man-work relationship. By guiding itself by previously delimited conceptions about man and work, psychology places in the background the original man-world unity, existence in its flow (Sá, 2017).

When walking the path of Heidegger’s philosophy, we find the concepts of Phenomenology and Hermeneutics as a support for our reflection. Phenomenology is the method used by Heidegger to understand the meaning of being. To describe the phenomenological method, Heidegger starts from the philological analysis of the term phenomenology, which consists of two Greek words: phainomenon and logos. Phenomenon, in Heidegger’s own words (2012, p. 67, emphasis added), in his work Ser e tempo, would be “[…] what is revealed, ‘what is shown in itself’”. In summary, it can be said that presenting a phenomenological posture consists of “[…] letting and showing for yourself what is shown, as shown from yourself” (Heidegger, 2012, p. 74), taken from existence as it appears. In this sense, the conception of the ‘I’ in Heidegger’s ontological thinking is based on the phenomenological analysis of Dasein in the daily existence.

Phenomenology in Heidegger also involves the conception of hermeneutics, whose original meaning the philosopher seeks in the Greek tradition. In this, ‘hermeneutics’ comes from hermeneuein and refers to the Greek god Hermes, the “[…] divine messenger” (Heidegger, 1987, p. 110). Its origin also goes back to the interpretation of biblical writings and is linked to the art of understanding: “Hermeneutics, in its most proper sense, means to capture an interpretation given by someone or a situation, without changing its meaning” (Feijoo, 2010, p. 42). Starting from the facticity of existence, from daily living in which existence is always at stake, Heidegger’s hermeneutics throws itself into its understanding, recognizing the mundane aspects that are co-shared in the game of existing.

In this sense, the question of man’s understanding always involves understanding of and with the world, with the other, a ‘being-with’. Martin Heidegger’s phenomenological-hermeneutics implies an understanding of being as it appears, within a historical and temporal horizon in which existence is always at stake. It is not an understanding based on world references, but on the unveiling of the being in itself, understood in its immediate daily life. As Sá (2004, p. 43) emphasizes, “[…] for Heidegger, [...] what characterizes man’s way of being, existence, is precisely the fact that his meaning is always at stake in time”. The understanding of man goes through the very existential dynamics, located in a historical horizon, since it is in him that man has always been and in some way, and that is prior to the enunciation of any conception about him.

When reflecting phenomenologically about the work of the worker with his professional improvement, psychology will relegate to the background the scientific arguments about the predictability of human behavior, to allow himself to be guided by the phenomenon presented. When starting from the path of phenomenology, rationalization, an essential aspect of scientific thinking, requires to be replaced by another way of thinking.

Heidegger (2012), in his writings, presents his conception of man as ‘being-in-the-world’, a ‘being-there’. The meaning of this expression, however, goes beyond the limits of a usual definition of space, that is, of someone who is simply understood in a geographical space and living with others. In order to carry out his analysis, Heidegger starts from the way of man’s existence in daily life, from how man articulates in the daily life of existence, but also having as a reference his character of being-able-to-be. This notion of man brings with it the conception that being and the world are intertwined in existence and that this constitutes the inseparability of this relationship. In this sense, any conception that seeks to understand man through previous theories or conceptions, whatever their nature, is disregarded, since they may not encompass existence in its entirety. Existence, when established by the human-world relationship, in which the two are mutually constituted, is subjected to the proper issues that involve this relationship, which will be revealed from its manifestation.

To think about man and his work, based on Heidegger’s conceptions, it is necessary to take into account the relationship that is established between both - man and work. And this mutual correspondence takes place in the socio-historical context in which both are intertwined. Based on this original character of existence, the development project based on the phenomenological-hermeneutics philosophy will not be established under any assumptions about human behavior, whether theoretical or socio-historical, that is, it will not be guided by a priori concepts, but rather from the very unveiling of the existence that is revealed.

When acting as an interpreter of the phenomenon, in the conception of the hermeneutic interpretation in Heidegger mentioned above, the psychologist will seek to apprehend the meaning of the man-work relationship that is presented and not by parameters that dictate the aim of this relationship. For example, in a leadership development program, the phenomenological-hermeneutic-based psychologist will allow the phenomenon of leadership to show itself from the one who presented to the process, in the way that leadership is given to him/her, within the context of labor relations in which he/she is immersed. Thus, he/she will not work with a previous leadership model, whatever it may be, but with the leadership that is shown (or not shown) from the phenomenon of this relationship. As emphasized by Feijoo (2010) and Feijoo and Pietrani (2015), in a hermeneutic perspective, the psychologist will work in a liberating anteposition, allowing the other to encounter him/herself and his/her existence, making it easier for the experiences to become present, without conditioning. previous determinants. Within this perspective, the psychologist will operate to make the phenomenon of leadership present, in whatever way it presents itself, instead of representing it by categorizations. Therefore, it is a question of thinking about the process of professional development in which, given the tutelage of his existence, man provides reflection on the ways in which he finds himself in this relationship.

Once man is understood, according to the Heideggerian conception of ‘being-in-the-world’, one realizes that he is inserted in a mundane context, currently populated by socioeconomic determinations, in which productivity has its main emphasis. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, Heidegger (2012) also points to the character of being-able-to-be of man, whose existence is supported by a process of mutual constitution between man and the world. In this way, it is a matter of taking man to appropriate his existential specificity and his character of being-able-to-be, as well as his mode of professional practice, within the historical horizon of today, in which he is. By this way of thinking, man can present himself in several possible ways and, thus, can deal with work under varied possibilities in the daily life of this field. By allowing man to live his process of openness towards work, it is possible to let the man-work relationship manifest itself in its most original sense, since such reflection will occur from the context in which both are constituted. The worker, thus considered, can be shown on his/herself, in itself, in its his free appearance, and not just as a productive being.

The training and development process, practiced by calculability and predictability, seeks to guarantee the functionality of the worker so that the company achieves the results it pursues, as previously described. When considering functionality, the only and absolute truth about the worker’s capacity, man is reduced to a substantialized being and taken by merely calculable attributes, which objectifies existence. Promoting the measurement and predictability of human behavior, aiming, ultimately, its dominance in view of the productivity requirements of the current organizational situation, seems to constitute a restricted possibility, in which man is taken as an entity whose behavior occurs in a predictable way, and is therefore liable to be changed in its absence. The training and development process in the organization, based on phenomenological-hermeneutic psychology, on the other hand, proposes to detach from this way of thinking, in order to launch itself into the unpredictability of existence, the uncertainty that is characteristic of existing, the possibilities with which the relationship man-work can happen.

By taking man, in his professional development process, and involving him solely in matters of productivity, a mechanistic inheritance is confirmed in which psychology was conceived and which it took as the only truth. Thus, man is fragmented, in parts, modeling them in aspects considered adequate to a dominant historical horizon. Thus, we lose sight of the existential character that man is at stake, his space-time relationship and the relationship he establishes with the world. In short, there is an objectification of man.

Considering the indeterminacy of existence, which does not guarantee predictability, it is possible to understand how man also allows himself to be invested by the world’s productivity determinations and guides, initially, his development process by these determinations. In fact, by taking the determinations of the world, he aims to protect himself from the unpredictability of the world, such as, for example, the fear of unemployment and the psychosocial impacts entailed. Without reflecting on this way of dealing with his professional project, man thus becomes a being imprisoned by the determinations of his time, restricted to a single possibility in his relationship with work. In this sense, it is understood that the man relates to his project of professional development in the way that this project comes to him, with its current determinations, since these supposedly contain the certainties for him to reach the propagated professional success. The psychologist, with a phenomenological-hermeneutic basis, keeping on the path of existential uncertainty and unpredictability, will walk together with the worker, seeking the understanding of the one who arrives with the pre-established truths of the world of modern technique, but helping him to reflect on them, without destroying them, but, in the very act of reflection, leading him to a free relationship with them.

Considering the performance of the worker’s task beyond the limits of productivity, the aim is to understand his/her professional project from the way it is situated, singularly, in the relationship of man with his work, in the historical horizon in which that relationship is found. In such a way that, by allowing the unveiling of appropriation of his task, the worker can open up to his way of being in his relationship with work, maintaining a free relationship with it and, thus, appropriating each time the task that ultimately makes sense to him. After all, there is nothing to worry about, man is an activity from start to finish. Activity from which he cannot escape.

Final considerations

In this work, we sought, based on Heidegger’s thought, a reflection on how psychology can present other ways of dealing with the issue of productivity related to the training and development process in organizations. Notably organizational psychology, in consonance with the epochal horizon of the technique, reproduces the hegemonic technical-calculating mode in our time. The rationality and quantification of processes and their consequent massification leads man to distance himself more and more from his uniqueness.

It is believed that another way of thinking about organizational productivity is possible, and its connection with the development process, which is not just based on the character of measurement and technocracy, which aims exclusively at productive results, but which starts from the most characteristic relationship of man-work, established in the daily existence and, as such, can present itself under other possibilities. Thus, instead of training and developing for purely productive purposes, forgetting the rhythm that characterizes human existence, one can remember that existence is a task. The making of man has its own rhythm, unlike the making of machines, whose speed can never be reached by man.

In order to unveil the possibilities most appropriate to man, it is necessary to clarify the modes of impersonality that frequently feed the relationship of man with his work project, which often masks his authentic and proper way of being in this context. By unblocking his impersonal way of life in the historical horizon of work, man can, in the freedom of his possibilities, say yes and no to the determinations of his time, thus acquiring serenity (Heidegger, 2001) to relate to his office.

Thus, under Heidegger’s premises, it is important to think of other ways for man to deal with his own work project. In other words, it is not a matter of replacing the organizational development model currently applied, but, starting from it and reflecting on it, looking for other possible paths that rescue man and his position of freedom and uniqueness in relation to what comes to him.


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5Support and funding: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

Received: May 29, 2018; Accepted: February 20, 2020


Elina Eunice Montechiari Pietrani: Graduated in Psychology at PUC-Goiás, post-graduated in Business Management at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Master in Social Psychology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Specialist in Clinical Psychology at the Phenomenological Psychology Institute of Rio de Janeiro (IFEN). Profesor at the Veiga de Almeida University (Rio de Janeiro, RJ) anda t the Arthur Sá Earp Neto University Center (Petrópolis, RJ), both in Psychology Graduation.

Ana Maria Lopez Calvo de Feijoo: Profesor at the Institute of Psychology and the Graduate Program in Social Psychology at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, PHD in Philosophy from UFRJ (2010), PhD in Psychology from UFRJ (2000) and master's degree in Psychology from FGV/ISOPE (1983). Pro-scientist UERJ, Productivity Fellow (CNPQ). Scientist of Our State ( FAPERJ). Founding partner of the Institute of Phenomenological-Existential Psychology of Rio de Janeiro (IFEN), Honorary Member of the Perunian Society of Phenomenological-Existential Psychology (SPPFE).

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