Ideology often begins with the needs to explain, have solutions and for control of complex issues; personal, social, economic, even scientific and political. Ideology is a collection of beliefs, values, logics and practices. It quickly becomes rigid as the need to document it, reproduce it, to defend it and to be consistent emerges. New information, issues and situations need to be interpreted so as to fit into the existing ideological framework. Once in practice it is always at risk of becoming dangerous to those who agree with it (e.g. don’t use a condom in a high risk HIV community) and even more dangerous to those who don’t – see Stalin, Mao, McCarthy, any fundamentalist religion, bullying, tyranny, revolution, injustice and whistle-blowing.
One of my favorite quotes is, “All ideologies become tyrannies.” John Ralston Saul.
Every business and industry I have been associated with has a ‘story line’ or rationale about how it works and why. One reason for the story is to make clear why it is different from other businesses and industries. It is also to make any choices appear rational and give the image of control. Such rationales are okay so long as they demonstrate adaptiveness and learning. If not then they are becoming ideology and the seeds of failure have been sown.
Where there is rigidity then check for ideology. It is not unusual for economists to sound ideological – just saying.
Peter O’Reilly ©
Leadership difficulties have played a role in nearly, if not all, organisational dysfunction I have encountered. Any person involved in leadership should be casting a questioning and philosophical eye over the practice and topic of leadership. Few (I’m being generous) have a good word for the leadership of their organisations. While this hyper criticalness is partly a reflection of the dominant worldview, their comments have merit. What follows does not attempt to replicate what has been already written on the topic but captures some of my thoughts from conversations on the topic. There seems an increasing number of people who are somewhat cynical about leadership and leadership training however in the end it is still best to engage with the topic and continue to learn. Ignoring or sabotaging the learning will lead to no good! Recent events such as including terminations by email or Text message require a different discussion again – courage and respect.
Leadership without the optional bits: The ‘corporate’ worldview loves leadership, a Continue reading
Sustainable, Sustainability: A term meaning something is able to be maintained indefinitely. Also a term that is easy to understand and has obvious and endless practical applications despite being challenging to define in each context. This characteristic means that it can be attached to almost anything, at which point it begins the process of becoming common, misused and abused. Soon enough it enters the popular list of buzz words used in Public Relations and marketing. Here it is finally stripped of any meaningful public definition, appearing in endless glossy brochures for any product, development or business plan. Thereafter using the term appropriately will be viewed with the suspicion that the author is practicing Public Relations. Ironically, once ‘sustainability’ is finally rendered useless as a buzz word by the PR industry it can again become a useful concept informing public discourse and practical applications as they struggle to determine what it actually means and how to achieve it. A further irony is that most businesses using sustainability as a PR buzzword would materially benefit from exploring and applying the concept.
In Australian politics, the conservative right is likely to view any serious use of the term ‘sustainable’ as a sign you might be a lefty – unless you are from the farming sector. Meanwhile, the left is likely to view any attempts by capitalists to actually apply sustainability to projects as PR and inherently paradoxical.
Peter O’Reilly ©
Public Relations: A corporate practice designed to maintain the illusion of:
- news reporting;
- participation and consultation;
while seeking to look good (Image management), and if possible exercise control and certainty for the paying client.
Absolute control and certainty is never really possible however PR works pretty well to shape the beliefs and behaviors of the ‘targeted public’. This makes a good working definition of propaganda.
It should be no surprise that the rise of Public Relations firms has coincided with greater demands for Governments and business (Corporates) to consult on issues and projects affecting citizens. Any increase in power the citizen feels is offset by the increased levels of spin and propaganda commissioned by Corporate organizations in an attempt to redress the power balance and maintain the status quo. This strategy seems to work and so will continue for the foreseeable future.
PR is great at manufacturing and distributing memes. Memes do not need to be true, just interesting, gossipy and the possibility they are true.
Using PR to discredit a politician involves using bad photos, impugning motives, highlighting inconsistencies and holding them responsible for operational failings (See Ministerials). Do the opposite to support a politician. Present this as news. It helps PR support of a politician when the politician can lie and be inconsistent without guilt or shame.
Peter O’Reilly ©
Be innovative and compete but never be a whistleblower.
Image supplied by jscreationzs, Freedigitalphotos.net
Limitations to Your Rights as a Citizen Okay I know some of this is written specifically into your contract but I am just making sure you understand. I wouldn’t want you saying the wrong thing and embarrassing somebody. This should be read in conjunction with: ‘Putting your job ahead of your family’.
You will put your role as a corporate employee ahead of your role as a citizen. You will not make known to anybody any corporate legal, ethical, moral or ecological transgressions. Specifically you are not to speak to the media or anyone who might actually do something about it.
What you can do! If you absolutely must speak out then present the problem weakly to a superior who will tell you how to think about the issue. Then with a nod and wink to your superior let them know you are savvy, to be trusted and therefore possible management material. Do not do this often as you may not appear to have sufficient moral and intellectual control … the kind required for an executive role. If you do this repeatedly you will be labelled and sent to ‘special projects’.
Definitely Don’t Do This! Speak out loudly or publicly. You will be treated as a whistle blower. The whistleblower is the Continue reading
I love this photo! The late 1950s or early 60s and some of these lads are forging the contract we live with today. The young man in the front seat goes on to lead this national level ‘corporation’ into the computer age.
Peter O’Reilly 2013 ©
I wrote most of the following a long time ago. It applies more or less to most private corporations and many public ones. It would be interesting to know how it goes with NGOs and community organisations. I’ve since written another attachment to go with this one. I’ll share it another day. Enjoy and thanks for reading! Feel free to share this but please acknowledge me and where it came from.
Your Corporate Contract: The Small Print:
This attachment forms part of your employment contract but is never to be discussed or mentioned. Specific components of the contract may be referred to when explaining/complaining about how difficult your work life is – however this attachment to the contract is to remain confidential. Actually you don’t need to be shown this at all – you just know it!
- You are to put your family’s interests ahead of your own – but not your employers.
- You are to give your employer and career precedence over your family on a day to day basis. You are allowed to deny this but not to do anything about it.
- Do not claim any overtime or even suggest that there is such a thing as ‘regular hours’. Act as if whatever you are doing is ‘normal’.
- You are to put your employer and career ahead of your health until such time as it fails you – then after a short period of support, you’re on your own – so have health and income cover. You will be erased from everybody’s memory the following week.
- Take pride in the fact that you go to work sick. Spreading germs gives others the opportunity to test their commitment to the organisation.
- You are expected to: