Change from the Bottom up LO5284

Brian Batke (
Thu, 01 Feb 1996 12:46:45 -0500

In LO5244, Ray Evans Harrell wrote (with lots of editing by me):

> Thinking about all of the discussions about change "from the bottom up"
> when all of these models being proposed to the working man and woman below
> the management level are top down ...
> If I were on the bottom, I wonder if change would mean anything ...


For me, this underscores even further the need for change to begin with a
personal transformation, wherever you are in the hierarchy. I have a
feeling that it's the personal transformation that starts to make the
hierarchy moot.

I don't think any sort of flow of ideals from the top can alter the
feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, cynicism that you so very well
described for each of these groups. I have a feeling that these things go
deeper than the organizational or cultural situations we find ourselves

I think change can happen when people begin to get a sense of their own
inner strength and worth independent of their organizations, when people
don't feel beholden to and dependent upon their places of employment.
Sometimes this might mean that an individual decides that his organization
no longer fits for him.

> ... Even the idea of change must come from the top or the top won't allow
> it ...
> How about this? Ideals have to come from the top down in order for change
> to happen from the ground up ...

When the top won't "allow" change, isn't it viewed as subversion?
Sometimes the top has no choice. I think of Ghandi and MLK and the civil
rights movement as illustrations. In organizations, when people at the
bottom start saying to themselves, "hey, I can't work in this environment
anymore", and they act accordingly, then something changes. If not for
that organization, then at least for that individual. In practice though,
I think it's difficult for many people to reach that point. You gotta eat,
and if you have a family and don't have skills in high demand, it's tough
to find other opportunities that are any better than what you have now.


Allen-Bradley Co., Mayfield Hts, Ohio