Human dignity is a central element in the law and moral vocabulary. For centuries, dignity was a privilege for "higher class" of society. So far, humanity has stepped forward: in the last 10 years, 61 countries have shown an improvement towards democratic values. This means that values of self-expression are growing and expanding all over the world. Simultaneously, dignity becomes the secret of a successful business. So what is the future of dignity and its meaning in the next hundred years?
Dignity - the foundation of success
Importance of respect
While being in the shades of silence, dignity is a base of qualitative human relationships. Dignity is the product of both independence and interdependence in the social interaction. With the social development of human relations, dignity is shaping the meaning and its importance. As the economy becomes more digital, it becomes more transparent. As the economy becomes more consumer-centric, self-worth values become a central focus in business and everyday life. All consumer experiences end up online describing satisfaction level and complaints. New technologies give the beginnings to a new term of Digital Dignity. What is more, under intensive globalization people become more protective while, at the same time, international human rights organizations develop empathy.
In the enterprenal world
Overall, people spend at work 70% of their awake time. As a result, the largest part of life satisfaction comes from the professional activity, having free/family time in the second place. For example, Harward Business Review dedicates a lot of articles to internal communication in the company. It is continuously underlined that empowerment of the workers will build a stronger brand and increase performance in times. Sociologist Randy Hodson has published a study Dignity at Work, where he describes the importance of showing trust, yielding autonomy, and appreciating the value of individual contributions. All these attributes together build employees’ sense of ownership of their work and pride in performing it. Human dignity and respect go beyond client service into the internal communication in the company. The skilled manager is the one who makes an effort to recognize the value of each employee supporting their professional goals and autonomy over their work. As people treated with dignity reveal their potential and enhance the company.
The rise of outsourcing and small-middle businesses signals that the processes of B2B and B2C will soon become outdated. Business ecosystem transforms into H2H - Human-to-Human model. The secret of company's success shifts from top-management negotiations to everyday human communication. Business cooperation will look more like a hub of skilled people blending for different projects. Treating each other with dignity and respect will be one of the foundations for long-term growing strategy.
As everyday human life is moving to the digital environment, new laws and morals have to be developed for the new environment. Under a comprehensive study “Towards a New Digital Ethics: Data, Dignity, and Technology, Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor, faces a challenge of what will it take to maintain the dignity in the digital world. Giovanni concludes: “In today’s digital environment, adherence to the law is not enough; we have to consider the ethical dimension of data processing. … Data protection principles have proven capable of safeguarding individuals and their privacy from the risks of irresponsible data processing. But today’s trends may require a completely fresh approach. So we are opening a new debate to what extent the application of the principles such as fairness and legitimacy is sufficient.”
European Data Protection Supervisor identifies four essential directions for development. First, there have to be new future-oriented regulations for data protection and processing. Second, it is time to train data controllers who will monitor personal data information processing. Third, change in the education is necessary for designing future data processing products and services. And last but not the least - empowerment of individuals. People have to be able to protect their data and maintain their dignity online. The scope of data protection has to cover everything from social media to governmental operations. Only satisfying those four steps will provide the foundation needed for sustainable digital dignity. The work towards new regulations has began. For instance, reform of data protection rules in the EU entered into force on 24 May 2016 and will be fully applied from 25 May 2018.
Global dignity identifies when a specifical group of people comes together to restore personal dignity regardless geographical location. It includes fighting for the rights of LGBTQ, women rights, equal pay, campaigns against torture and child labor, and everything that can undermine the inner feeling of personal value. The world unites to achieve the justice and peace. At the same time, the power of rejectors rises at the similar pace. On the other polar, there is terrorism, legislation against the spread of equal rights to health care and freedom of traveling. Prime Minister of Canada has explained the later phenomenon as a unpreparedness to accept the changes and globalization from the middle class and baby-boomers generation. Millennials and Gen-Z are the ones to talk to when predicting the value of international dignity in the future. Nowadays children become more independent and confident. Generation Z is cynical, well-educated, entrepreneurial and freed from geographical borders. There is a high hope that under their leadership human dignity will be valued and inequality will be distorted.
Dignity comes first - the moto of 2050 and later. New generations will protect and respect personal space and value. An economy built on the empowered, independent professionals will value skills, diversity, and human dignity. Throwbacks of the second decade of the 21st century will most probably unite Gen-Z worldwide and set a base for new legislations for global and digital ethics. Isn't it time for companies to include global dignity and respect in the mission and value statements?