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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:03 AM
Original message
One in Four Americans Compare Their Workplace to a Dictatorship
via AlterNet's PEEK:



One in Four Americans Compare Their Workplace to a Dictatorship

Posted by Meg White, BuzzFlash at 8:23 AM on July 23, 2008.

Dictatorships are not good for businesses, or nations.



According to a Workplace Democracy Association/Zogby Interactive survey, 25 percent of Americans compares their workplace to a dictatorship. In the most comprehensive study of the phenomenon to date, the poll also found that adopting more egalitarian processes might be the solution.

"Companies that want to boost employee engagement levels must adopt democratic and innovative practices in the way the entire company is managed," said Workplace Democracy Association President Asher Adelman. "Executives should be sharing information with all employees about the company's ongoing performance and goals, and employees should be empowered with greater discretion and decision-making abilities."

According to Zogby, "The survey also found that less than half of working Americans -- 46% -- said their workplace promotes creative or inventive ideas, while barely half -- 51% -- said their co-workers often feel motivated or are mostly motivated at work."

Interestingly, according to a study released earlier this year by the Bertelsmann Foundation, almost 40 percent of the world's population lives under a dictatorship.

The German non-profit group found that "52 of the 75 democracies investigated show considerable defects in the rule of law and political integration. In many cases, there is no moderate and stable representative party system, balanced representation of interests or a strong civil society."

As Zimbabwean opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai would no doubt agree, just because you have elections doesn't mean you're a democracy.

Dictatorships aren't productive for nations or for businesses.

There's a lesson to be learned there.


http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/92403/one_in_four_am... /

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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. almost 1 in 4 americans still support GWB
therefore, 1 in 4 americans are idiots.

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. So if someone compares their workplace to a dictatorship, he or she is an idiot?
:shrug: Is that your assertion?


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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. heck, the poster's response doesn't even prove *that*
I'm not sure what the point was.
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Forgive me for saying but.... I think almost all jobs are dictatorships, even great ones.
I've never heard of a company that voted on things. Generally there is an owner or CEO, etc that is the person who dictates how the company proceeds and the employees carry out those dictates whiles following the rules set down by the company.

Perhaps I am using a different definition of dictator.
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. True, but I don't think that's the definition the poll respondents conceived....
..... it was dictator in the negative, Pinochet-esque sense.

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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. a workplace 'dictatorship' is hyperbolic
and insults the suffering of people who live under ACTUAL dictatorships.
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. You have clearly never known women who endure sexual harassment
and coercion at work because they are too desperately poor or in too precarious a situation to dare leave.

You have never spoken to people who work constant unpaid overtime, getting nothing in return but grief and stress in unrewarding positions, but are constantly told that they should be grateful just to have any job at all.

You have never spoken to smart people with skills and education who are forced into menial jobs with no respect because they work in isolated semi-rural areas where prejudices and limited opportunities have real power over their lives.

You've never been a person with a disability searching for a job, having social workers ignore your degree, telling you that you're ungrateful and have a bad attitude because you won't take that mindless, menial minimum wage job.

Just because you don't think anyone should compare anything to a dictatorship doesn't mean it isn't a very apt comparison. I've know a lot of people over the years is a lot of hostile job situations who could not leave but received no respect, autonomy or chance for advancement.

Perhaps you need to get off your high horse, stop insisting on absolutes, and have some empathy for the wide range of real situations people find themselves in.
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
4. Mine is a dictatorship and I don't mind it at all !
Of course, I work in a small office, directly for the owner, who is a progressive liberal. But he pays the bills, so it's his kingdom, success or failure!

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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Sounds like you work more as a team than you might think.
It sounds like you know what your boss wants. As the owner, he sets your direction and tells you what needs to be done. It is very difficult for a small office to work with a dictatorship as the model. That is because there is always a lot of lateral communication. Of course, the boss makes the big picture decisions, but you probably have some flexibility about lunch times, handling unexpected problems and access to your boss. You can probably bring a problem to your boss's attention pretty easily. You don't just get an e-mail directive telling you to do x y z in all situations, no exceptions. If the exceptional situation arises, you can bring it to your boss's attention. He may tell you what to do about it, but even just the way in which you describe the situation can influence his decision. So you probably aren't in the kind of workplace dictatorship that people are complaining about.

I remember working as a service rep way back when (1960s-early 70s) in a place where all desks were interchangeable. We were allowed to keep a few personal things in a specific drawer (same drawer at every desk). We (all women) never met our real bosses (all men). They entered the office and directly vanished into their inner sanctum. All our calls were monitored. All our breaks were timed. We were abruptly moved from desk to desk. We had no say in any of the conditions of our work, not even who we went to breaks with or what time we took lunch. We could not trade lunch hours with some other "girl" on the "floor." Now that is a dictatorship.
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I think we have a really different idea of the meaning of dictator
Sometimes I tend to be very literal.

I get what you are saying though.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I don't think by "dictator" they mean chain of authority.
I once worked for a bookstore. The boss was definitely in charge, but she worked very hard. Everyone liked and respected her so much that we pretty much did whatever we could to help her including doing what she said. I suppose it was a dictatorship in one sense, but we did not perceive it as such.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
10. Most private businesses, outside of worker co-ops are either dictatorships or fiefdoms...
that's how they work by design. Sometimes the dictatorships are reigned by Unions, but sometimes not either, and Unions aren't as common anymore, unfortunately.
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Ysabel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #10
21. yes the purpose of most private business is profit first over all else...
with the most profit going to those on top...

the purpose (mission / written into the by-laws) of most worker co-ops is the creation of a democratic workplace first as well as providing a living wage where all members have an equal share / vote in the process...

our family has been involved in worker owned co-ops now for four generations (we also lived in a co-op house equally shared among 35 members for four years) for our family it is very much a lifestyle not just an experiment we shop / bank / work / receive health care (some health care: we need more efficiency in this area) etcetera all within our co-op community...

- i find it hard to understand why many others don't do it...

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Ysabel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. edit time ran out wanted to add this...
i want to add that i know full well of dire economic situations i've been through plenty of hard times and awful jobs and / or no job i have never had much money my parents didn't ever have much money either i have been homeless i have worried about feeding / sheltering / clothing my children etcetera (deleted long personal horror stories) suffice to say i was determined and things are (personally / in our family) okay now (altho still a struggle / it's a different struggle)...

my intent is never to dismiss anyone's struggles nor to dismiss any abuse anyone has suffered i know how hard this can be to deal with...

my intent is to encourage others to break out of slavery (i see most privately owned business as practicing a form of slavery)...

- there are alternatives...
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Co-ops are not as common as they should be...
Edited on Thu Jul-24-08 12:30 PM by Solon
My Grandmother and one of my Cousins are part of an energy cooperative, an electric utility, where both workers and customers(in their case customers) are members. They seem to be gaining a little bit, hell, I never even heard of cooperatives until just a few years ago, outside of television shows about New York City and co-op apartments. But they still aren't as common as they are in other nations like Spain.

ON EDIT: I think the key isn't whether the business in question is profit driven or not, but rather how its structured internally, publicly traded corporations can be considered, generally, to be driven by an aristocracy, but they are called shareholders rather than nobles. Small businesses, that aren't publicly traded are more like miniature fiefdoms or totalitarian dictatorships, with the conduct of the business and all the power(and wealth) accumulated being given to one person, the owner.

Non-profits can be just as authoritarian internally as for profit businesses, so that isn't necessary the issue, co-ops can, again, be either non-profit or for profit, the difference between them and "traditional" businesses is that they are more democratic in the power and wealth sharing internally.

Also, another thing, just because a business is structured as a dictatorship, such as a small business, doesn't mean its horrible to work for, a "benevolent" dictatorship is possible in this scenario. Its not right, however, because all the power is still vested in one individual or a small group of people. This is inequality by default. The dictator in question may be a nice person, but they are still a dictator.
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Ysabel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. hi i was typing and missed your comment...
Edited on Thu Jul-24-08 12:35 PM by Ysabel
yes education / spreading information about co-ops teaching others how is also an area which needs much much more work...

-----

- edit: (upon reading your edit heh) and yes i agree...

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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. That's ok, I just made an edit that ended up being longer than the original post!
I hate it when I start rambling. :)
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Ysabel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. i edited and responded to your edit as well... :D
:hi:
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Hey, that's cool, well, I have to go back to the little fiefdom I slave for...
see ya later. :hi:
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #23
35. That's because Americans are largely ignorant of co-ops or the leftist ideology behind them.
Much of that ideology is rooted in left libertarian thought that wanted to steer away from statist socialism but still aimed at collective ownership that was outside of the state. The unfortunate thing with American workers is that they exist in an historical vacuum by design. They don't want workers knowing about such things because it causes problems for business owners when workers start growing a brain and start their own businesses that are in competition with traditional businesses. The problem is if workers in traditional businesses see workers in labor co-ops doing well, it might cause those workers to leave the proprietorships and join the co-ops. In this case, we would see market place competition actually benefiting workers in the long run.

In Spain, the left libertarian tradition is extremely well entrenched due to decades of agitation by anarcho-socialists in the countryside prior to the Spanish Civil War. Of course, much of the movement disappeared under Franco, but the leftist thought still remained engrained in the population. The world's largest labor co-op is the Spain-based Mondragon Cooperative Corporation with roughly 70,000 workers.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
13. Isn't it? The boss commands. You obey. If not, you're unemployed.
This might be a different situation in employee-owned firms, but labor co-ops are pretty rare inside the continental United States. To be sure, they exist, but not at levels seen in Europe, which has a stronger, organized leftist base of thought supporting co-ops.

With the way things are dominated by corporate interests, I don't foresee much change in the future for the average American worker until the workers grow dissatisfied enough to start agitating. Then, the employer starts having major problems with workers getting uppity, and workers will discover that nothing is gained without issuing a demand.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. The very essence of fascism
" Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power."
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Fascist Dictator of Italy


The dictator boss,the absolute rule,the THREATS to push obedience.The hierarchy.

add in the office politics,brown nosing, and you may realize people behave like they are dominated and they desperately try to get promotions (power) ..it's all THERE and it's fascist indeed if you look at it.

"We stand for the maintenance of private property... We shall protect free enterprise as the most expedient, or rather the sole possible economic order."
Adolph Hitler

Corporatism, or corporate fascism, is the American form of this disease. It has thrived here unchallenged for several decades. And it has rewritten our language of social discourse at the same time it has taken half the wealth of this nation and concentrated it in the hands of a few.

"The tycoons were linked by an ideology: the ideology of Business as Usual. Bound by identical reactionary ideas, the members sought a common future in fascist domination regardless of which world leader might further that ambition."
Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy, 1983, pxiv

Our forefathers cut the shackles from our wrists.
We now purposely pick them up again and help enslave each other.


"Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise. "

Adolph HItler


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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #17
29. Have you ever had a career?
Edited on Thu Jul-24-08 01:00 PM by HEyHEY
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FKA MNChimpH8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:12 AM
Response to Original message
14. Only under a fascist dictatorship
will the incompetent at the head of the company be paid tens of millions to go away after fucking everything up to the point of insolvency and begging for a government bailout while the honest worker who makes a mistake (by doing, most probably exactly what his boss told him to do) is escorted from the premises by armed guards.

Funny how Akio Morita, the founder of Sony, never in his life made more than 40 times the salary of his lowest-paid employee. That certainly crushed Sony's ability to thrive in the marketplace, didn't it. One simply does not see this "Fuck up and you will be handsomely rewarded" ethic in any industrialized country with the exception of the US.
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #14
32. You know Morita died a billionaire?
You have heard of stock options right?



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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
15. Only one in four?
In my experience, if your employer actually gives a crap about you, your opinion, or your working conditions, you are extremely lucky.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 02:19 AM
Response to Original message
16. Totalist
Fascist environments exist in this country and because they are"normalized" they are not seen for the fascist things they ARE..Corporate jobs are often fascist,a corporation by design is fascist..but also mental hospitals(that is totally fascist),abusive families(tyrannical and fascist),jails,(fascist partly by necessity,partly not)Schools,(some are more fascist, others less so,but the same authoritarian structure and power game that underpins fascism is there).Some religious groups,can be(manipulating and fascist)...the list is long.

Fascism is the result of authority,that creates chains of command..
And a benevolent dictator is STILL a dictator folks.

We are not free if we cannot say NO,or voice our objections and have negotiations with all parties concerning any questionable command from a boss,staff or guru.I have had too much abuse and institutional fascism in my life,I can't deal with it anymore.In an environment of fascist type it makes me enraged pretty quick,I am very sensitized to it,and intolerant of it.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 03:02 AM
Response to Original message
18. I sure felt that way when I worked as a High School Teacher
Edited on Thu Jul-24-08 03:09 AM by quantessd
2003-2004. No words can describe how shitty that job was.

It was partly a few horrible, uncontrollable students (but most students were great), partly unlikeable teachers, partly the oppressive atmosphere, but for me, I knew there was no way that I could do my job the way I was asked to.

BTW, this was an experimental High School Special Ed teaching position, shared with another Speech Pathologist, another woman my age.

I was not rehired, and the other sp.path quit when I did, and took a different job.
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 05:46 AM
Response to Original message
19. Question: Where do the other 3 work?
I worked for a state hospital that polled employees and fopund nearly 70% would not want their friends or family to work there.
The hospital formed a committee to "change the culture", ostensibly improve the employees opinion of their work situation. This committee evolved into one that now FORBIDS any criticism or negative attitudes from being openly expressed by any employee. They do, however, post cheery pep-talk messages every month on a roadside billboard.

Nearly 90% of their new hires leave in the first 2 years of employment.

mark

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
20. Most workplaces are authoritarian. The vast majority are.

I read that in a book about work trauma and bullying. IMO, though, just observation of workplaces in RL would tell you that.

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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
24. Aren't most work places dictatorships?
I can't recall ever voting my boss in or out of office.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
30. I never realized how fortunate I've been until this year.
Most of my adult life I have run my own businesses and when I have been employed by someone else, they were only interested in performance.

For the last year I have been forced to work for one of the worst companies in America and now have a much better understanding of how horrible it is to associate with the worst of the worst. As one example, this company has an 80% turn over every six months, breaks every labor law that exists with impunity, and worts of all (IMO), we just take it. I have tried every way that I know of to get the sheeple here to stand up, make complaints, start a union, anything, but they just keep their heads down, chew their cuds, and look for a different job.

Total lack of any sense of injustice, community, or spirit whatsoever. A thousand people living below the poverty line, yet still with the "I've got mine, fuck you" mind-set even though they don't have anything.

Perhaps not surprisingly, about half of them still think Raygun and the republiks are their best bet. You just can't fix stupid.




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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
31. That's cause they are.
You get paid to do exactly what you're told. That's the point.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Maybe in some jobs
They certainly don't all work that way.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
33. The tighter the job market, the more employers try to get away with!
If you quit in a huff or walk off the job, try getting a good reference. Without a good reference, your chances of getting hired by another employer are mega-fucked!
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