Petition for productive people management and fair relations in the workplace
The Petition signatories express their anxiety and reservations about the level and quality of interpersonal relations in their workplaces – institutions, organisations, enterprises, or firms – where they worked or still work.
Speaking about democracy, democratic values, or societal transformation from totalitarianism to democracy, our impressions from firms and organisations are more negative. The thing is that here totalitarianism reigns mostly, with a tendency to uncontrolled expansion, and therefore we should not underestimate it! The result of such a situation is dissatisfaction and distrust in a firm or an organisation! Employees distrust the management and often also their own colleagues. They take their work for a „necessary evil“ that is, however, necessary for their living. They may not freely and without risks express their opinions that differ from the management´s official ones. In an overwhelming majority of cases employees are also excommunicated from the decision-making process on key matters of common interest.
Owners and managers do not have fair relations with their employees, and take them for objects (things) for satisfying their own needs. Their practically absolute and often uncontrolled power tempts them replace the organisation´s or firm´s goals with their own. – This no longer meets the standards of a civilised and effectively functioning democracy.
The result is an overall decline of entrepreneurial morality – fraud, theft, embezzlement, or other forms of aggression and violence – but mainly the entirely undignified and unequal position of employees. The managerial and bureaucratic elites of all kinds that enjoy a number of illegitimate and often illegal advantages do not want or cannot admit any open or appropriate discussion! People are „directed“, „urged“ and „rushed“, however, not „managed“. There reigns a rigid hierarchy of rank and power. Harassment, bossing, extortion by threatening loss of a job, rigged agreements, and unlawful „sacks“ are the typical tools of personnel work. Employees are afraid of losing their jobs or doing anything wrong, and instead of admitting mistakes and correcting them they strive to retouch them. – Irrespective of further losses they will cause to their firm, organisation, or society as a whole!
High work productivity – if ever possible under conditions of increased pressure and duress – is usually valued employees´s health, therefore at the expense of the state and all taxpayers. It is a productivity of fear that is too far from true human productivity as defined for instance by social psychologist Erich Fromm. In particular, productivity is a person´s orientation or attitude towards his work! Therefore it should be regarded as a constituent part or a result of the so-called „relations field“. – Should relations be „frosty“ or even destructive among people in a workplace, words on high productivity shall sound untrustworthy and formal.
We do not want to pay for organisations or firms that take chances with their employees´ health and trust! With management like that a firm or a company cannot be productive in its final results, and in a broader view it can remain neither profitable nor flourishing in the long term! Therefore we should not tolerate managers, bureaucrats, or politicians that promote and support such behaviour! – Society is not the jungle for which they often pass it off in order to be able to award themselves the roles of „sharks and tigers“ – i.e., of those who thanks to their „strengths and abilities“ have the right to get the biggest prize!
This untenable state can be improved by civil courage and organisational bravery of people who will not come to terms with the role of „prey“ and who care what happens around them! – In the workplace or anywhere else! It is not true that a person cannot do anything about the situation, we really need not put up with that! – Although sometimes it is very difficult. We also consider such behaviour as organisation bravery and courage if it advocates human dignity and human rights in a firm or organisation. Behaviour that does not tolerate perquisites for individuals or small groups of „the chosen ones“ at the expense of the good or even the functioning of the whole. Such behaviour by employees is a condition and also a guarantee of fair relations in the workplace and also of optimizing processes in a firm or company.
If we suffer from injustice in our organisation or firm we should learn to resist effectively! If our neighbours – colleagues, workmates, or fellow citizens – suffer from injustice we cannot remain unconcerned! If we want to be successful as a whole we must learn to struggle for others. Productivity and prosperity of one group cannot be built on injustice of another over and over again! Such a state leads regularly in tension, aggression, or even destruction.
If we really care about changing the present conditions we will have to start with ourselves. Right now, in the best case!
Prague, March 27, 2003
PhDr. Pavel Beňo
Should you agree with the text of this petition please send your name and surname, profession, and place of residence to the Internet address: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .
You are invited to also send us your insights, ideas, opinions, or comments on the petition´s content or further information concerning your „life at work“; we will be happy to release them to the public. Many thanks!