Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

27 June 2015

The Investiture of Agents; Also Lesson 22 in Gospel Doctrine this week

Another discussion of Religious principles being able to be used in an organizational context 
(one of my favorite subjects of discussion)

~~Written as an assignment for an MBA class:

The discussion this week regarding agency costs and a successful principal/agent relationship and my role in it is most fitting for me this week. I teach a Sunday School class to adults every Sunday, and the topic this particular week is from Matthew chapter 25. I started to notice similar patterns to Principal/Agent relationships in the teachings of Jesus to his disciples (an interesting parallel to Principals and Agents). As a Principal “establishes appropriate incentives” (Jensen & Meckling, 1979) we see the parable of the talents wherein the Principal (the Lord) gives talents (objectives/motivators) to the Agent (One who bonded to the principal through covenant) and the agent sought to maximize the value of the Lord’s investment. Those who maximized their talent (value) were given more, while the one who decided not to invest or improve did not receive the desired reward and was taken away even what he had to start.

The other parable mentioned in the chapter discussed the ten virgins going to a wedding feast. As Agents (Again, those who are bonded through covenants to the Principal), they were given specific instructions to be followed through upon the master’s return. Some were able to successfully utilize their resources and remained sustainable until the desired outcome (The feast) while those whose resources were depleted and unable to gain more were not rewarded the same. A final message in the chapter mentions a main objective by a master teacher. He asks others to do as he would do. To those the agents serve, it becomes synonymous with serving their master (the Principal).

From a Principal/Agent perspective, the Principal is in effect asking the Agents to act as the Principal, thus bestowing investiture. Implementing a process of investiture is an effective tool of motivating new employees to become part of the organization (Ashforth & Saks, 1996) as well as incorporating non-financial motivation which can fuel social responsibility (Campopiano, et al, 2012). When an Agent is involved in an organization on a deeper level than financial remuneration, sustainability efforts can increase. A religious leader, focusing on developing an understanding of becoming a part of an organization states- with an invitation to action: “May God bless us with a sense of our place in history and, having been given that sense, with our need to stand tall and walk with resolution in a manner becoming the Saints of the Most High” (Hinckley, 1999).

In my experience, social responsibility comes from understanding the history of an organization and then realizing that by becoming a part of the organization, one becomes a part of that history, developing from an Agent into an investitured Principal. Once the responsibility becomes personal, it deepens. In my role as an Agent, I need to find more ways to understand my organization and thus deepen my role so that I can affect more change. I must also recognize ways to magnify my role, in addition to understanding it.

Ashforth, B. K., & Saks, A. M. (1996). SOCIALIZATION TACTICS: LONGITUDINAL EFFECTS ON NEWCOMER ADJUSTMENT. Academy Of Management Journal, 39(1), 149-178. doi:10.2307/256634

Campopiano, G., De Massis, A., & Cassia, L. (2012). THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MOTIVATIONS AND ACTIONS IN CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY. International Journal Of Business & Society, 13(3), 391-412.

Hinckley, G.B. (1999, November) At the Summit of the Ages, Ensign. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/11/at-the-summit-of-the-ages?lang=eng

Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. (1979). Theory of the firm, managerial behavior, agency costs, and ownership structure. Journal of Financial Economics, 3, 305–360.

Please feel free to share your thoughts!