Tag Archives: Support Groups

S Venkateshwaran On Dysfunctional Organization Cultures And Falling Corporate Empires

ganesh article on Culture

A reader of Mission Sharing Knowledge S Venkateshwaran had this to say on one of our previous articles. Since we thought the comment to be really relevant, we have published it in its entirety. 

Dysfunctionality tends to occur in those organization more often than not, where the Boss is either a self made person who thinks that he / she knows how to run the business, or has an aggressive approach to business more out of the need to over achieve. I have worked in an organization where the Boss was so stern that he would keep pushing people in all directions. Every day would start off with meetings in which all the heads had to participate.

This would go on for an hour (discussing the activities of the previous night in terms of production targets etc.), followed usually by two or three in depth meeting with selected departments and finally followed by end of day meeting to review what was supposed to be done in the day. At the end of it all, he would rave and rant because work did not happen. To ensure this, he would make all the Heads stay back late.

The irony was he wanted a strong HR team that would “fearlessly” tell him when he was wrong. Quite obviously, when that happened, the poor guy was out of work the next week. Highly emotional, and rigid, the person would shower abuses which would put a rickshaw driver to shame.

The only group of people who were able to work with him, were, not surprisingly, those who could flatter and live up as his ego alters, who also used the same technique of imposing themselves on the poor “lower the line” persons. Not surprisingly, attrition was very high; but this did not affect him, even though others in the company knew the reality but choose to keep quiet.

Based on my observations, some of the traits of a dysfunctional Manager I would think are:

Tells you to do something you don’t want to do, but blames you when it goes wrong.
Says He / She wants you to take responsibility, and then publicly overrides your decisions.
Loves to be in front when there is a big audience otherwise will send sub juniors to attend a customer.
Intimidates with aggressive words and posture, knowing that you will never confront but becomes a pacifier when confronted. .
Handles meetings as though he is the only speaker.
Revels in the invention of creative curses for just the right occasion.
Verbally approves new requisitions, later denies doing it.
Gets too personal in his berating.
Ride you mercilessly while pet employees can do no wrong.
Always right: when confronted with mistakes, blames them on someone else.
Fiercely protective of pet projects.
Highly compulsive and obsessive about minute details.
Displays a good understanding of the “Good Cop” and “Bad Cop” routines and generally practices it.

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Bitter Chocolate: Child Sexual Abuse in India

bitter chocolateThe thought-provoking cover page of Bitter Chocolate is just the beginning to a path-breaking book which serves to shatter the “conspiracy of silence” around Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and attempts to give the traumatised child a voice. In fact, Pinki Virani narrates her experience of sexual abuse during her childhood and its aftermath in this book.

While analysing the roots of the problem of sexual abuse, she makes a very interesting observation. Nowadays, increasingly, young children are encouraged to emulate adults and are made to mimic adult objects of desire. This is objectionable to Virani because “it normalizes a particular way of looking at young girls…that shares in common with pornography, namely, the girl as an object of gaze for the voyeur and not as a person.”         

A documentation of the sexual abuse perpetrated on children, this book serves to shatter the complacency surrounding family life. The usual equivocatory questions are spelled out clearly which leaves no room for ambiguity and ignorance. An extremely hard-hitting text, it gives a detailed account of the experience of sexual abuse of children in a straightforward manner, completely devoid of self-pity.

Virani’s credit lies in the fact that apart from discussing the problem of child sexual abuse, she provides pragmatic solutions to prevent sexual abuse and also talks of other aspects which has precipitated this issue. “Virtue cannot reside only in a woman’s vagina, it can well be in a male body. Virtue…is an internal state, virginity is a choice and the vagina is an anatomical structure.” These are subjects that are considered to be taboos and therefore, are left unaddressed. But the book clearly mentions that only after such matters are clarified can we expect any resolution to the problem of Child Sexual Abuse.

This book is an eye-opener to people who believe in the sacrosanctity of a family. Most of the Pinki Virani_0perpetrators of this crime are members of the same family. These people have an advantage over outsiders since they have the trust of the child whom they violate under the veneer of a loving and caring relative.

Bitter Chocolate also discloses the fact that sexual abuse is no longer about inequality of gender. It is about the inequality of power since the numbers of little boys who have been violated are also increasing in number. The supposed number of boys and girls who might have been abused by 2002 are 4,15,94,735 and 6,28,53,160 respectively. These numbers are an attempt to sensitize the masses and bring them out of their lethargy to see and accept the predicament which is rampant in our society.

This well-researched book is written in an absolutely blunt and unsparing fashion which and leaves no stone unturned to strike at the perpetrators of CSA. Pinki Virani, in my opinion, succeeds in her attempt to create awareness and educate parents, teachers and guardians about this issue.

I was stunned on reading this book. Although I was aware of child sexual abuse, I was ignorant about the actual statistics. Media has the responsibility of bringing to light such issues which haunt the society like nightmares and this account for its relevancy to media studies.