When smart owners hire managers with the intent of working together for a long time, it’s easy to call their relationship – if it works – a partnership. It’s not a partnership in the legal sense and it’s not a partnership in the investment sense, where partners share costs and gains. But in great working relationships between employer and employee, each looks out for the other. Each invests to build and maintain a good relationship and share the gains of working well together and advancing the mission and economic and social health of the organization.
The problem with rampant outsourcing is that it leads to thinking on the part of employers and contractors that relationships are reduced to a transaction. Pay me x and I’ll perform as ordered. Stop paying me and I’m gone. The logic is the same whether it’s one contractor or ten thousand. While it is transactional in the letter of the contract, it is not in the spirit of one. The danger of a purely transactional mindset is that loyalty goes out the window. Loyalty from a boss to an employee and loyalty from an employee or manager to the organization. In organizations with a strongly transactional bent you can bet that any corporate talk about integrity is a watered-down concept at best.