From Patriarchy To Partnership – The Paradigm Shift Our Organisations Need | Corporate Rebels | Education, Curiosity, and Happiness |
We are in a paradigm and most of us are blind to it. You could call it Theory X or top-down, but one way to summarise it is that we are in a parent-child paradigm. There have been shades of this throughout history but perhaps none more dominant than the Industrial Era which was fuelled by the worldview that employees, then largely uneducated, are naturally stupid and lazy and must be monitored, controlled and motivated.

Incredibly, this is still the prevailing paradigm in workplaces today. We might have upgraded it a little, but not much. (Just read this mind blowing article by Aeon about the ‘stupidity paradox’ in organisations.) But what about companies that invest heavily in employee engagement programmes and making their people happy? Often this is just a different shade of being a parent – either a caring parent, or a coercive parent! The underlying belief is still: “people need to be motivated and taken care of to be productive.”

“We already know how to be good parents at work. The alternative, partnership, is something we are just learning about. Our difficulty with creating partnership is that parenting – and its stronger cousin, patriarchy – is so deeply ingrained in our muscle memory and armature that we don’t even realise we are doing it.”

– Peter Block, Stewardship

Via David Hain, Ian Berry