The problem with “soft values” – about the ability to choose and the motivation in practice 

We are living in a time where soft values rule. Being able to choose for yourself, having maximum freedom of choice and acting out of our own inner motivation is considered the right way for both organizational success and the wellbeing of individuals. As an example, bosses are expected to practice a kind of leadership that encourages and attracts a voluntary and motivated following, rather than a dictatorship. 

This starting point has developed into one of our strongest dogmas since the 1980s, but carries hidden and sometimes dark consequences. The ability to choose – from choosing a jam at ICA, your work outfit for the day, choosing your doctor or choosing your career – is today so spread out in society that it has created paralyzing consequences for some people. Despite the good intention, the freedom of choice can leave us confused, stressed and depressed. You can ask yourself what these soft values behind all the idealized images actually does to us? When can soft intentions get unwanted consequences? And how do you go about finding a functioning balance in your work life between hard and soft? 

Learn@Lunch is our lecture series made to stimulate and inspire your head while simultaneously filling your stomach. Since we all have time for lunch, we thought we would kill two birds with one stone and present relevant and current topics and questions, offer lunch – and learn something new every time. 

Kalle Ström is a scientist (PHD Candidate) in ethnology at Stockholms University, a field that takes a grip on man as a cultural being. Kalle’s ongoing science project roots from the fact that military service has once again been reintroduced in Sweden, where he investigates how the young recruits understand and handle meetings with “hard values”, such as duty and obedience within the military context. He has previously written about how the business philosophy Lean is being implemented in the healthcare context as well as late modern leadership ideals. Kalle has a background within media, business development and has been an elite player in handball. 

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