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Corporate sensitivity

A book attempts to summarise the changes that are taking place in the industrial manufacturing system

Man and machine. This is now a historical, controversial pairing, and one that has seen much conflict; a harbinger of disputes, a battlefield of ideological debate, and a synthesis of everyday life for millions of people. In any case, it remains an important issue to address in this day and age. Particularly today – perhaps more than yesterday – due to the rapid evolution of machines and production organisations. Reading “Organizzazioni Emotive (creative e intelligenti). Tra Welfare aziendale, responsabilità, partecipazione e resilienza” (Sensitive organisations (creative and intelligent). Corporate welfare, responsibility, emotional involvement and resilience) by Luciano Pilotti may therefore be a good means of seeking an up-to-date overview of this issue. An issue which, on the other hand, touches all areas of work to a degree, and which is constantly being enriched with new ideas: from welfare to resilience.

The common thread that runs throughout Pilotti’s book (he is a tenured professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at the University of Milan) is the observation that the strategic factor for ensuring a bright future in companies that are focused on knowledge, practical know-how and digital worlds is the quality of human capital and the relationships that give an organised shape to this, beyond the availability of raw materials or advanced technologies. Still man and machine, then, but in a new and more complex form. The distant horizon we are aiming for is clearly that of a new approach to work characterised by its humanism, but the road leading to this destination is certainly not linear, and is beset by its fair share of obstacles.

The purpose of this essay is to shed light on the path that leads the individual back to the heart of the various processes, focusing on the relationships between organisations, digitisation and emotions. As such, Pilotti wants to reunite what Fordism had separated: machines and human beings, the intellectual and the manual, mind, body and consciousness, intelligence and action, the individual and the community.

In the background lies the identification of a form of corporate welfare and work that is built not only on profit and income but also on something else. Pilotti therefore writes about dynamic organisations that can help us to achieve such a goal by enhancing the emotional factors and the multiple human and collective intelligences that exist in a corporate setting. Among other things, the author indicates his view that this is a necessary transformation that organisations will need to undergo, in order to rebuild a sense of corporate belonging as a common good, which calls for “strong” forms of direct and indirect participation in order to generate value.

The book begins by outlining the “micro and macro” economic context, before going on to discuss the relationship between productivity and corporate welfare, and then examining the relationships that exist between “rationalist” organisations and the new ways of working. The author ends by outlining the need for what he calls a “new social pact” for “the civil renaissance of a shared, supportive, responsible and inclusive form of capitalism”.

Pilotti’s book is complex, and there is certainly no obligation to agree with everything the author writes, but it nonetheless bears careful reading; it is a text that is full of food for thought on how the systems of business and production are changing in our societies.

Organizzazioni Emotive (Creative e intelligenti). Tra Welfare aziendale, responsabilità, partecipazione e resilienza (Sensitive organisations (creative and intelligent). Corporate welfare, responsibility, emotional involvement and resilience)

Luciano Pilotti

Mc Graw Hill-Fondazione Casa della Carità, 2020