Re: About responsibility and fault

Subject: Re: About responsibility and fault
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 18:10:25 -0700

Jeff Hanvey wrote:

My issue is about power, and the heirarchal nature of most corporate
structures. Working within these structures - those that are newly imposed
and those that have "just grown up" - means that, often times, our hands are
tied as to just what we can do. This occurs no matter how vocal you are, no
matter how much initiative you take, no matter who efficiently you do your
job or no matter how much knowledge you have in your particular field.

To me, this is by far the most interesting part of the discussion. I used to wear a "Question Authority" button in high school, and I've never had much respect for hierarchies at any time. I used to wonder if I would get more conservative as I got older, but, so far, time has only managed to increase my outrage and disdain for those who hide behind power structures to abuse others and to advance their own selfish ends.

However, I wonder how much hierarchy plays a role in the average technical writer's job. High-tech companies, where most tech writers are employed, often have a very flat structure, and what hierarchies do exist are often fairly flexible.

To the extent that hierarchy is important in the job, I think that personality has a large effect. As someone who generally contracts, and someone who has been high up in the corporate structure, I'm not inclined to give anyone much respect simply because of a job title. I know that there's always another job, so losing the present one is not very disturbing to me. Equally, having puzzled about the best way to manage and muddled through the problem myself, I don't believe that someone in nominal authority is better or smarter than I am. I'm almost never rude, but I do deal with my bosses without exaggerated respect or awe. As a result, I can't remember the last time I had problems with the corporate hierarchy.

So, I can't help wonder: is the hierarchy sometimes an excuse? Does it only keep most of its power if you let it have its power? I strongly suspect that the answer is "yes" to both questions.

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"Pity the poor policemen, pity the boys in blue,
Always rushing about, they have got a job to do,
Blowing their whistles, chasing the likes of you,
Waiting on glory now."
- OysterBand, "Waiting on Glory"

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RE: About responsibility and fault: From: John Posada
Re: About responsibility and fault: From: Jeff Hanvey

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