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Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations by David M. Noer

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10.4. From Paternalistic to Empowering Management Behavior

Once when I suggested to an organization's management committee that a good start toward the development of an empowered workforce would be to undo some of their paternalistic management practices, they almost threw me out of the room. "Who us, paternalistic?" they exclaimed. "No way! We're a modern organization; we're into participation and total quality! How can we be paternalistic?" However, they eventually discovered that they were indeed paternalistic, and paternalistic managerial behavior does not stimulate empowerment. Instead, it has the opposite effect: creating a dependent, compliant workforce.

Most organizations do not like to think of themselves as paternalistic or, as a ...

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