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Vertical To Horizontal: A New Workplace Reality

Written by Rune Kvist Olsen Saturday, 08 April 2006

The human character

As human beings we all have the unique ability to think and feel. To reflect, analyse, value, estimate, decide and evaluate. Because of these characteristics all human beings are able to function 100% responsibly and independently if the circumstances in the workplace provide real opportunities and possibilities to do just that. People are by their nature as human beings quite able to make their own decisions in their own situations. It is therefore a contradiction to assert that some people must lead and others must be led, that some people must make decisions and others must be decided upon. Modern human beings have sufficient personal consciousness to make their own choices and decisions, and the ability to take personal responsibility for their actions. When people, however, are deprived of possibilities and opportunities to self-determination and self-decision making, they are at the same time deprived of their abilities to take responsibility for their actions. When people are decided upon by others, these others must also take the responsibilities for their decisions over others. And that is not a humanized way when responsible people are deprived of their responsibility by the control and command of others. The author Jack Zwemer4 has said: "In a truly human existence, control of choice and behaviour must never originate from outside of the self because external control effectively destroys the essential function of the human self as a responsible entity."

The hierarchical relationship between dominate/subordinate, superior/inferior, boss/worker, leader/follower reflects the perverse human drive for prestige, status and power over others. Rights and privileges are apportioned according to one's rank and position through the vertical and hierarchical order.

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