Love as a Replacement for Fear in the Workplace

Debby Thomas
Fear is routinely used in organizations and interpersonal relationships as a source of motivation. Some research supports the use of fear to motivate employees to work and to change. However, fear has long lasting negative effects that outweigh the motivation that it produces. This paper proposes and supports the notion of love as a central motivator in place of fear. Inner texture exegesis of 1 John 4:18, along with recent research on love in organizations, supports the move from fear to love.
more » ... Love produces long lasting effects of inspiration and heart level motivation, increased creativity and effectiveness, and a release of energy. It offers holistic health and growth to individuals. Although replacing fear with love requires a paradigm shift, the effort produces an organizational environment that is more productive and more attractive to employees. Fear is used regularly in organizations to produce motivation and change. Fear is also regularly used to motivate people in families, churches, and in one-on-one settings. Some research shows that fear is a good motivator and if used wisely can produce positive results. This present research delves into the concept of fear as a motivator, and its opposing force love. Love and fear are considered as motivators and the results of their usage are examined. Inner texture exegesis of the biblical concepts of love and fear in 1 John 4:18 bring further clarity to Christians desiring to motivate others through love or fear. Fear as Motivation in Organizations Fear is commonly used as a motivating force in organizations and in relationships. Tanner, Day, and Crask (1989) present projection motivation theory which concerns how individuals who process threats choose responses to cope with danger brought on by the threats (p. 267). Tanner et al. use projection motivation theory to study fear appeals used in marketing. They propose that fear appeals are most effective when subjects are presented with a coping strategy. Welbourne (1994) applies this research to organizational change and proposes that fear tactics may be used effectively in organizational change, but only when coupled with coping strategies that aid individuals in identifying behavior that will help them adapt to the change and avoid the fear-inducing consequences of the change. Welbourne advocates the use of fear in organizational change and suggests that fear is the primary motivator of change, which should be used by organizations facing change to motivate cooperation by the members. There is a stream of research that encourages the use of fear in organizations as a way to motivate their organizational members to change. Secretan (2009) agreed that society has "embraced fear as a weapon to coerce others to do their bidding" (loc. 71). Secretan believes that in a vast majority of organizations and institutions