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Downward Dependence

Almost everybody knows about, and behaves in accordance with, the concept of “Upward Dependence“. You know, the hapless dependence of the many toiling in the lower levels of a hierarchically structured org upon the few in the higher levels for financial, psychological and, in extreme cases (e.g. despot-commandeered governments), physical health. However, in CLORGs and DYSCOs, the reality of “Downward Dependence” is willfully ignored in the minds of the DICforce and the SCOLs who rule over them.

The term “Downward Dependence” captures the fact that the health of the whole org, which obviously includes its upper echelons, depends heavily on the quality and efficiency of the work performed in the lower tiers. As a minimum, a recognition of the reality of “Downward Dependence” requires:

  • humility on the part of SCOLs
  • assertiveness on the part of DICsters

In viable and cutting edge orgs, these behaviors are on display daily, but not in CLORGs or DYSCOs. In these types of monstrosities, the 18th century reward and punishment system they utilize requires the org’s SCOLs to don masks of infallibility and its DICs to be unassertive – regardless of whether the participants know it or not. Bummer for the “whole“, no?

  1. July 7, 2011 at 3:27 am

    I like it! I have not long retired from about 20 years working for govt – I would love to see the alternative model in action.

    Interesting blog…

    cheers
    Lorraine

    • July 7, 2011 at 4:07 am

      I think some, but very few, institutions operate in accordance with a “downward dependence” culture. One that comes to mind is HCL technologies (CEO Vineet Nayar). Another is Zappos.com (CEO Tony Hsieh).

      Thanks for stopping by Lorraine.

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