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A substantial achievement in today’s society is that people are no longer entirely imprisoned within their social field. If you were a farmer in the 12th century, you were also a serf, were not permitted to trade, would only have limited access to courts, would follow the faith of your Lord, were not able to study, were only allowed to marry within your social group and would have no opportunity for advancement and thus no change perspective.

Today the different functional systems of the society have separated and the person is first and foremost just a human. In the next step he is a participant in political, legal, economics, educational, scientific, religious or art systems. In society he fulfils many different roles which are independent of each other. If he leaves the church, he doesn’t lose the right to an education or property. If he becomes bankrupt, he can continue to strive for political office etc. Therefore people have learned, or must learn, not to confuse themselves with the roles which they hold. This is psychologically very demanding: (“Am I still of value if I am unemployed?”). Roles contain certain expectations which are contained within them (“Do your homework!”).

Organisations are dependent upon their employees’ ability to take on roles (e.g. a member of the organisation), and that they are and remain principally exchangeable within these roles. Therefore, to participate in modern societies, we need a regulation of ‘self-worth’, which is broadly independent from one’s role.