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DEMOCRACY IN BUSINESS

Ever since I was young I wondered why there were such things as bosses.  I understood why there were such things as parents: they nurtured kids; they helped them live in a world that could harm them if they didn't know any better; they fed them, clothed them, and provided shelter for them.  I got that.  What I didn't get...even when it applied to parents...was people telling other people to do something even if they didn't want or agree to do it.  Even when parents did this, I didn't get it.  Why should people do anything they don't want to do?  Why should they do something someone else wants them to do, even if they don't want to do it themselves?  I didn't get that.  I still don't.

 

It seems to me that people should do things they want to do, not things that other people want them to do, unless, of course, it happens that what they want to do coincides with what other people want them to do.  Then it's ok. 

 

But the business part of our society seems to be full of people telling other people what to do, even when they don't want to do it.  And they do it!  The people telling other people what to do are relatively few (employers); the people doing what they are told are relativley many (employees).  Now, when the employees agree with the employers and do what they are told to do because they actually want to do that, then fine.  The two wills coincide.  Maybe not perfectly but pretty well.  But when the two wills conflict, the will of the employer always (or nearly always) has the final say.  The employee suffers.  I don't get it.  Never have.

 

I have no problems with leaders.  We need leaders:  people who might know more than we do about something, advising us what to do, sometimes telling us what to do and hoping we do it.  I get that.  Parents who are good parents are actually leaders.  They tell kids what to do and hope that they do it.  It's rulers I have a problem with:  people who might or might not know more than we do about something, ordering us to do something under the threat of punishment.  I got a problem with that.  I'll follow you if I think you know more about something that is important to me, but I don't want to do what you tell me to do simply because you are telling me to do it.  That takes me out of the equation.  It's all you.  I have to follow you or I will be hurting.  Doesn't seem right.

 

Hierarchies are made of people who tell other people what to do, whether or not they want to do it.  They are made of rulers and the ruled.  Some rulers in hierarchies might have leadership qualities.  I suspect that most do.  But this does not mean that they are not rulers; they are.  They are rulers first and leaders second.  Business, as a human enterprise, is overwhelmingly hierarchical.  Why is this so?   We've overthrown hierarchies in politics, as evidenced by the democratic transformations of monarchies throughout the world, but we still cling to hierarchies (economic autocracies, economic oligarchies, economic aristocracies, etc.) when it comes to business.  Why?

 

This section of the website is dedicated to exchanging ideas about democracy in business, discussing problems with hierarchies in business, developing ideas about how to transform hierarchically structured businesses into democratically structured businesses, developing practical applications of democratic ideas to business enterprises, etc. 

 

Offered as a working example in this web site is Associated Independent Dramatic Artists, a democratically stuctured business that is seeking members, i.e. like-thinking individuals who are willing to commit some time to developing a new way of doing theater, by transforming the current way theater is done.  I invite you to peruse and, for those really interested, to study the business by clicking on the appropriate links to the right.  If you are interested, feel free to contact me to share your interests, ideas, and concerns.  If you are interested in joining me in trying to get this business going, feel free to let me know.

 

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