Representational Image
Representational Image

Aufbau’s principle states that electrons in every atom always fill the energy levels and orbitals first from lowest energy to highest energy.  It means, the electrons will first move to an energy level 2 and only then to energy level 4 and never the other way round. Only when the lowest energy levels are fully occupied and no vacancy is available, the electrons then move to the next higher energy level in an atom.

Aufbau’s principle doesn’t limit to the electrons and their movements in the orbit of an atom, it also applies to how people behave when multiple choices in selecting the tasks are given to them by the organization.  

If people are asked to choose their tasks from the list of various tasks, always people would prefer the task that requires least effort, take the least time to complete and require least competency to accomplish. If they are told that what tasks they have chosen were already assigned to others, then they go to the next easiest task in the list.  Only when the choices are limited or not given, they would take up the most difficult tasks as they are left with no choice.

Electrons first prefer the lowest energy level because they want to be stable and non-reactive. Similar to that, the corporate people, irrespective of their hierarchical order, wants to settle with an easy, less time consuming, less laborious jobs. When such assignments are chosen by them, they need not worry about achieving it, they can keep postponing it, they can engage in ‘show business’ or ‘sycophancy’ or can keep nagging at others. The bosses are very smart in making such selections. They allocate most of their responsibilities to people of their team and then most of the rest and relax.

Electrons in the atom behave so because they want to offer stability to the atom by minimizing the atom-atom interaction so the element that is constituted by such atoms would remain stable, durable and non-reactive.  

But quite contrary to the above scientific truth, the corporate people do follow Aufbau’s principle, not for the sake of corporate or its welfare, but only due to their selfishness and insecurity feelings. The HR function should periodically check the people to understand whether the people in corporate show any such signs and symptoms of electrons that follow Aufbau’s principle.  

Although the projects are not assigned to people in any corporate by choice, the existence of such syndrome may not go well with their leadership quality.  Hence the people must be guided and corrected appropriately.   Competent and experienced people should be willing to take up bigger challenges and responsibilities than looking for easier choices to settle.  The organization when fail to respect, reward and value the contributions of people, the people naturally turn to follow Aufbau’s principle.  

Dr S Ranganathan