5.   Unequal Power Relations

Organizations are structured on hierarchical relationships, and such relationships, by their very nature, generate fear and anger—the less powerful fearing the more powerful, with anger flowing in both directions. Typically, the less powerful figure is angry that the more powerful figure holds the key to his or her fear. And the more powerful figure is angered whenever that power is questioned or threatened because it confers a feeling of control and security in the relationship.

Anger may flow both ways, but it is more apt to be expressed in the downward flow. For example, according to one study, in situations where employees were angry with their bosses, only 45 percent expressed their feelings immediately, during ...

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