Sunday, 11 March 2012

Of Corporate Sheep And Shepherds

The corporate shepherd leads his flock in the belief that each is a valued member of the organisation.  This deceit is necessary to foster a sense of family within the group and to aid in subsuming the individual personality.  The individual is valued only so long as he or she is deemed to be both productive and cost effective.  In short, they are a resource, and their effectiveness is always judged against the bottom line.  The profit has spoken and declared that in the face of loss, or even that of a higher margin, we are all expendable, a fact proven the expansion of foreign call centres and manufacturing plants.  The cold logic of accountancy is not subject to morals or ethics or sentimentality, simple arithmetic states that an Asian worker trained to the same competency level as their European counterpart need be paid a far lower wage.
Care, therefore, must be taken to distract the sheep from this financial Sword of Damocles through indoctrination into the corporate mindset.  Corporate identity has become increasingly important, with ready identification through logos and colours, the physical branding of property and metaphorical branding of personnel.  Communications and briefings are targeted at reinforcing the corporate identity over that of the individual.  In this particular worldview you are either a leader or a follower, it is anathema to step outside of the rigidly defined boundaries.  Intelligence is respected only when it is employed within one’s designated area of expertise.  It is an act of heresy to question the motives of higher management, a sign of deviancy, or worse, a belief in the rights of the self.
Dichotomy arises in the individual in that it is extremely difficult to function outside of the corporate sector unless one is independently wealthy, either through inheritance or via self-made means.  The majority of sheep, even the self-aware, are bound by financial responsibility to their partner, children, or simply by a perceived level of lifestyle that they wish to maintain.  Others, still, are bound by morality.  To disapprove of corporate politics and policies is reasonable enough.  However, for some the act of signing a contract behoves them to honour it, not necessarily out of loyalty to the company but for the sake of their self-respect.  Respect for the security of their fellow employees is also a powerful binding force.  To put one’s own livelihood at risk through an act of omission or rebellion is foolhardy enough; to jeopardise the security and future of others is to risk being socially ostracised.
In such a manner the corporate shepherds, like the Church before them, are able to exercise control of their flocks through guilt, fear and familial ties; through the promise not of eternal damnation but the certainty of hell on earth.

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