I thought Cary Tennis was a flaming idiot, but this article is brilliant!

I stood on principle and was harshly reprimanded

Hmmm, interesting. Perhaps he speaks a harsh truth (that generally, people in the workplace will step on whoever they have to to get what they want… that a company really just consists of people all trying to get what they want). He then goes on to say that the person should just shut up and do what they’re told, or go off and get another job where they are in charge.

I don’t agree with this - I don’t think people should just do what they’re told if they have a valid moral or ethical objection to the orders of their superiors. If I was the head of such a company, and a lowly admin assistant was asked to do something by a middle manager that they thought was counter to the interests of the company, I would want them to be smart enough to recognize that, and to speak up. Why would you want people in your company who will just blindly do whatever they’re told, even if it is harmful to your company? I don’t want robots, I want intelligent, thinking beings - not just people striving to “get what they want” at all costs. That’s not good for business.

So while doing what you’re told and not questioning superiors is good for the middle manager who is giving the orders, it might very well not be good for the company as a whole. Again, if I were the “big boss” I would prefer that conscientious people be staffing all levels of the company, and feel like they had the freedom to voice concerns, in good faith, without fear of reprimand.

Hey, but who am I? I don’t have an MBA or anything so maybe I am completely wrong.

I think it comes down to “what makes a successful business?” It would be nice to think that a business can be successful based solely on good strong principles, but in reality the successful businesses are the ones that make a lot of money. And the way to make money is to go looking for ways to do so. Which is the kind of business he is describing.

There will be exceptions, but I expect they’re rare. Principles only get you so far, and no business seems to survive only on what gets them “so far”, they want to go further, and will find ways to do so, at almost any cost, including at the expense of the very principles it used to pride itself on.

That’s captialism for you.

Occasionally you hear about successful businesses that pride themselves on “doing the right thing.” Now I can’t remember any off the top of my head but I have heard of some notable ones.

Also, the situation described in the article really was just a matter of an egotistical middle-manager who was pissed because the peon admin assistant dared to question his “authority.” I don’t think it was much more than that… that kind of thing happens all the time. Managers feel like they are special and important because they have underlings who they can boss around. People often take advantage of this “power” and of the people they have power over. They will act aggressively if they are challenged by an underling or if their superiority is challenged.

I don’t think this type of assholery is good for any kind of business, especially if the manager was asking someone to do something that was unethical or harmful to the company.

Good for business or not is beside the point. It is part of business. It is accepted, modeled, enforced, and reinforced. You bend with it or it will happily break you.