Quote from nursemike?
One of my concerns with nursing has been patient autonomy (I don't mean I see anything wrong, by and large, just that it's something I feel is especially important, but sometimes complicated). So autonomy would be an important principle in the "real world", too. I think people ought to be as free as possible to make their own decisions, especially when those decisions affect only themselves.
Ok, let's play with this one. Autonomy has something to do with power actually. Or rather one's power over one's life. In the nursing world, we do try to give the power back to the patient. For example, we don't do things for a patient if s/he can do them. In nonNursing world, that is a good goal to have in terms of doing things that enable an individual to have control over his/her life (or at least as much as reasonable within real world's limit).
Hmmm... if one is a nursing manager... a good manager actually will try to give as much autonomy as much as possible to the people under him/her. The manager will also encourage and support his/her staff to aquire skills that will enable them to be as autonomous as reasonable. This may be good not just for nursing managers, but any kind of managers. Actually if one is a RN, one will have to delegate, so how does a RN do it in such a way that helps people she is responsible for to have autonomy also.
If one has children, then that is one of the goals also as the child grow - to be autonomous and as parents to develope them the tools they need.
Now being autonomous is probably related to the fact that we value individualism to the extreme in the US (US is rated number 1). If I remember right, lots of other cultures do not value individualism to the degree US does. Other cultures value more a group or relational identity instead.
So take a traditional Asian family as an example. Emphasizing individual autonomy probably won't come over very well. However, emphasizing a family unit autonomy may communicate better. This may have some applications, for example - a traditional Asian mother spend 150% of her time taking care of her child who has cancer and she is getting sick and burning out. Helping her to take care of herself might not work because she does not place such a high value on individualism. However, if one can communicate to her that taking care of herself will also take care of the family unit, or that it is important to take care of the whole family unit and thus she needs to care for herself, that might go over a lot better.
What else, autonomy can be apply to combat situation actually. You want as much autonmy as possible to the people at the trench because solders who can think and be flexible in a combat situation are probably more valuable (but also take longer to train and more expensive).
Autonomy can be related to the person's dignity. So maybe underneath the value of autonomy is the value of a person.
In government or any big organization, autonomy can also be applied where decision making is pushed downward, or at least as close to the real action as possible.
In a marriage situation, that could be an interesting question in terms of the role of autonomy playes. Just on top of my head, probably you want a nice balance between autonomy and unity, or you have autonomy in unity in a marriage situation.
Well... that is all that popped into my head... now you have to put it in some nice formal academic form which nobody could understand