Saturday, March 25, 2006

"Do I Dare Say Something?"

The Harvard Business School Working Knowledge site mentions a research paper that's concluded that people are too scared to talk at the workplace, because of bosses and hierarchies.

The research was done by HBS professor Amy Edmondson and her colleague, Professor James Detert from Penn State. In an interview, the professors say, "Perhaps most surprising to us has been the degree to which fear appears to be a feature of modern work life."

They also say, "Turning to the modern economy, most of us depend on hierarchical organizations and their agents (i.e., bosses) to meet many of our basic needs for economic support and human relationships. Thus, fear of offending those above us is both natural and widespread. "

The professors' research was titled "Latent Voice Episodes: The Situation-Specific Nature of Speaking up at Work." Basically, they were trying to figure out why people don't speak up at work, and found that it was because of fear.

I'm sure you knew that already. But thanks to the professors, we now know that 'officially'. Their research just confirms what I said in my manifesto, the emergent property at our workplace is fear.

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