The Corporate Dilemma

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The dictionary defines a corporation as “an association of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members. Inherent in this definition is the clear suggestion that a corporation is a self-sustaining entity with all but “sacred” powers that are greater than the powers of the individuals who may govern or operate its functions. This, of course, places people in a very secondary position if not further down the scale of importance. Of late, the term oftentimes coined of the larger, conglomerate corporations with many smaller businesses associated with it is “too big to fail.” When they are troubled by certain kinds of issues that threaten their existence, the Federal Government can throw money at them as a bailout measure to insure that they continue to function. Of course this is done at the expense of the average taxpayer.

The process of hiring people to man the corporation is very interesting. Generally, a person will try to sell his or her talents in the form of a résumé which is meant to influence the powers-that-be within a given corporation to begin the process of determining whether this individual is worthy of being interviewed for a position through the Human Resources (HR) Department. Then the individual may begin the trek of being interviewed up and down the corporate ladder of those managers who may be interested in the described talents of the résumé until a decision is made. After the hiree is placed in a given position, he or she is considered to be a cog in the corporate machine similar to working on the line in an auto assembly factory. They may never see the finished product of their work but must be satisfied with doing the small or large part that creates that product. After all, this is not an emotional process but one that only needs to satisfy the hunger of the corporation whose bottom line is PROFIT which requires no need for emotionality.

Should the hiree work out by fulfilling the role that the chain-of-command superiors require, he or she is allowed to remain in their position or transferred to other positions should their talents be required elsewhere. Over time, some personalized relationships might occur around the water cooler. There might also be a seemingly close relationship develop with one’s manager or boss. Things may be humming along quite nicely and then, one day out of the blue, the hiree, who may have been on the job for a period of years, is told to pack his or her belongings and leave the building by a certain hour since they are no longer necessary to the overall plans as determined by the higher-ups. They are not allowed to talk with anyone in authority and usually only a generalized, cursory reason is given for the termination. The departure process is overseen by security personnel who literally escort the individual out the front door. Oftentimes, a request to say goodbye to friends or to clean up their computers are met with strong facial disapproval, with the answer of an emphatic “no” being the result.

The theorem “the whole is equal to the sum of its parts” somehow does not apply to the corporate structure. The whole, it this case, is the corporation, but its dependence on the sum of the people that are employed under its profit-making umbrella is a dynamic paradigm, not a static one. In other words, the corporate motto is simply: “What can you do for me today?”  The individual person is, as mentioned previously, simply a cog in the large corporate machine. That person’s dignity, emotions, family, hardships upon being terminated are of no concern to the corporation or the managers of its huge funding capacity. Of course, the manner in which they assuage their guilt upon terminating someone is to give them a severance package which could be quite large, giving them an opportunity to find another position in another firm in order to start the process all over again. Insofar as the close relationship the hiree thought he or she had with the boss, which is long forgotten and may never have really been a close relationship at all. In fact, the boss may have had the final vote as to whether the hiree becomes terminated or not. All of this is done without any fanfare or emotionality which oftentimes leaves the hiree with a sense of desperation that may affect his personal life as well as some health issues.

The real issue is whether the dignity of the person is something that is lacking within the confines of the corporate structure. In my role as a consultant and program deliverer, I have interviewed many corporate employees from the top down to the lack-luster bottom of the human pile. In most cases, it was clear that the atmosphere within corporations was not conducive to any sense of well-being. There was evidence of some drug abuse, a good deal of alcohol usage and in some cases abusive drinking patterns, marital and family breakdown, moderate to high incidences of divorce, depression, anxiety, fear of the unknown and even child abuse that came from my queries. However, within the corporations themselves, life went on as usual with everyone turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the problems that their counterparts might have been experiencing. That is the only way to survive within that atmosphere: “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. In addition, I’m afraid, it will ever be thus as long as money and power are more important than the human beings that they are supposed to serve.

(12 March 2014)


Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.

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