Monday, August 07, 2006


Braving The Corporate Hierarchy

Below is a link to an article that is most notable for its novel vocabulary than for it really says. It introduces two neologisms of the social activist variety that are completely new to me. One is "rankism", which is defined as discrimination based on rank. In other words, how the big shots treat the little people. The other is "dignitarian", as in the "dignitarian movement", which aims to win respect for all persons, regardless of their rank in any social setting, be it a corporation, a school, a neighborhood - or even society writ large.

We at The White Collar Warrior thoroughly applaud the battle against "rankism", so long as it has real results. Accusing a manager of "rankism" may - eventually - prevent him from bullying an employee. But the problem is that corporations are sly entities, and have long since devised ways of slighting or even destroying their employees without even raising a blip on the most astute of interpersonal radar screens. For example, "rankism" is implicit in the perception used to justify downsizing - that all white collar workers beneath the upper rungs of management are disposable resources rather than "business partners" or "human beings". I would love to see the "dignitarian movement" grow strong enough to detonate such dehumanizing attitudes for good, but downsizing is by its very nature a faceless and impersonal enterprise. To combat it requires more than just the little guy standing up for himself, for there might not be anyone available for him to confront. Pinning down the enemy is sometimes harder than fighting him. Crusades against "rankism" would probably be most effective on a small scale to make local improvements in the interaction between managers and their teams.

Nonetheless, check out the link.

"A battle cry for the rank and file" from The Boston Globe

I work on the Breakingranks web site:

I have never been able to figure out how to fight rankism in a corporate environment, and Bob Fuller is the first to appreciate that the little people just get steamrolled over. We welcome all suggestions on how to fight back. Leave a message on the web site forum or email us with suggestions.
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