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comment by CrazyEyeJoe
CrazyEyeJoe  ·  961 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hiring a Chief Diversity Officer Won’t Fix Your Racist Company Culture

This is all interesting stuff, but how would you make use of this knowledge to make yourself heard? It kind of sounds like if the organisation has problems, you can either learn to live with them, or quit your job. Which, to be fair, matches with my experience.

humanodon  ·  960 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Unfortunately, at the individual level there are no boilerplate solutions (or at the team/unit/org level). Generally speaking, businesses who have high employee turnover spend shitloads on recruiting and training to replace, not to mention time lost and opportunity costs, the blow to morale, etc.

Rationally speaking, these losses would be expected to curb behaviors that result in turnover, but they tend not to, at least not in the US. The work culture here is so focused on "efficiency" and minimizing costs that it tends to create tunnel vision, but since most other successful businesses also have tunnel vision, people tend not to see it as a problem.

Essentially, if you are in a conflict averse work environment, which is most organizations, then being heard is not as in the cards as one might hope. Part of the issue on that front is that people don't have the resilience or training to engage in conflict productively. That said, when conflict is engaged in productively, it's almost never recognized as conflict at all.

People often voice the need for greater training in conflict management but rarely engage in it, at least in part because many people are uncomfortable with it, which makes practice tough. Lack of practice leads to a lack of skill and—oh look! Here we are, back at square 1.

Where this knowledge can be useful for the lay-person, is in determining whether or not an organization might be a good fit to work in. To answer your question explicitly, you can't make yourself be heard unless the other party is willing to listen. When that occurs at work, it kind of depends on what you value.

CrazyEyeJoe  ·  959 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Agreed, it's best to try to find an organisation that fits with your personality. Ironically, it's almost impossible to understand a company's culture before actually working there. And beyond that, I believe it's hard to find companies that deviate much from the mean anyway.

I recently moved from the UK to Norway. This is my first job in Norway, so I'm not sure how well it represents Norwegian work culture in general, but immediately I was struck by how much more agency I'm given. It feels like I'm finally being trusted to be a professional, instead of just some guy who's given tasks to do.

I might have had some hints about this at the interview, but to be honest I didn't really grasp it. In the UK I worked at three very different companies, but in all cases it was much more of a pyramidal decision structure. I don't think a company like this exists in the UK.

humanodon  ·  959 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think that's so true of so many things. In the US context, what you're talking about also applies to university; how can we expect literal children to choose for themselves the path that will lead them to meaning and financial independence, when they don't have the life experience to really know what they need or want?

In terms of your move to Norway, I'm not very surprised to hear that your experience is so different. Both the UK and the US tend to have very large organizations with a great deal of what I would term, "power distance". For example, here in many organizations (large or small) the people at the top, never meet the people at the bottom, or even in the middle. Different levels tend not to interact with one another much, except through very established channels and contexts.

Here's a real shocker: these kinds of organizations tend to have less potential for upward mobility and as organizations tend to reflect the communities and populations that they're embedded in, they also tend to reflect societal dynamics. In societies with very little social mobility (like the US) we see less internal promotion and more bringing in upper level people from the outside. Further, "chain of command" type org structures tend to have notably higher rates in turnover, which means that they spend a shitload on hiring and trying to establish pipelines to draw on talent. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, for whatever reasons, the customer keeps demanding the cure and wondering why they can't cut costs.

It's not healthy.