Re: Shared Authority LO2062

David E. Birren, MB/5, 608.267.2442 (
Wed, 12 Jul 1995 13:25 CST

Replying to LO2039 --

Replying to Lue Ann Snider in Shared Authority LO2039:

>... top management that found those two characteristics [shared authority and
>decision-making] not appropriate. Can anyone lend some advice and explain why
>shared authority seems to be so threatening.

Here are a few questions to consider: Are top-level managers' jobs
defined primarily by their roles as authority figures and decision makers?
If so, then the concept of shared authority and decision-making could be
very threatening, such that these folks could face obsolescence. Might
that be a significant source of resistance to change?

>I don't feel that bottom level staff are trying to replace top level staff's
>authority in this issue, but merely want to share their expertise.

The intent of mid- and lower-level folks may not be relevant. What counts
is how the top people interpret the behavior. It may help to clarify
intentions, but I'd say the problem is in the culture, and that's the
domain of the top folks.

There seem to be some CEOs and other mucky-mucks on this list. Can we
hear from them on this issue?

David E. Birren                              Phone:    (608)267-2442
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources         Fax:      (608)267-3579
Bureau of Management & Budget                Internet:
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It is not necessary to change; survival is not mandatory.
--W. Edwards Deming