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Don't Just Do Something, Stand There! by Marvin R. Weisbord, Sandra Janoff

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PRINCIPLE 4

Let People Be Responsible

The owner of a shipping company ordered up a new oil tanker.He employed the late Gunnar Hjelholt as consultant to leadthe ship’s crew in designing a new work system. None hadever shared decision-making, and they struggled throughseveral meetings. They wanted Gunnar to tell them whatthey should do. “My comment,” he recalled, “was, ‘Who isresponsible for this ship?’”

— Madsen & Willert, 2006, p. 252

There are many forces in society and in us that work against people taking responsibility for themselves. We defer to people in power; we look to experts for solutions and magicians to entertain us; we sink into self-doubt when facing ambiguity and seek heroes to insure our safety. No wonder people expect anybody ...

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