Archbishop Martino on How to Manage Business's "Most Precious Patrimony"

Human Resources Need Participation, Formation and Flexibility, He Says

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ROME, JULY 2, 2003 ( A Vatican official warned about the need to safeguard the moral condition of what he described as «an authentic human ecology in the world of work.»

Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made that observation when closing the 21st Congress of the European Association of Personnel Directors, held here.

During the meeting, convoked under the motto «To Develop Individuals in the Era of Technologies and the Internet,» Archbishop Martino underlined that one of the most salient effects of the new technologies is to give work a central place and to give maximum value to human resources in terms of creativity, imagination and organizational capacity.

In line with John Paul II’s encyclical «Centesimus Annus,» the archbishop said that these resources constitute the «most precious patrimony of business.» Because of this, those responsible for personnel must be concerned with the spirituality of work as an integral element of individuals.

Otherwise, there is a risk of «falling into a neo-functionalist concept of work, which brings with it, especially in terms of individualist logic, the quest for personal advantage and the weakening of collective ties of solidarity,» Archbishop Martino said.

As an antidote he suggested the concept of participation, interpreted as an offer to exchange experiences for the benefit of both the workers and the business. In this respect, formation is also of importance in the era of technology; directors must not ignore their obligation to match new personal qualifications, with the corresponding opportunities in the workplace, he said.

The archbishop also referred to the flexibility of work. This element, perhaps, has the greatest impact in the spirituality of work, he said. It should be managed in such a way as to avoid harmful consequences for the worker and his family.

It is a question of «preserving those conditions of humanity, those resources of sensibility and ability which constitute the alphabet of all spirituality,» he concluded.

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