Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Understanding Abuse and Oppression in Organisations

Some thoughts on the continuation of abuse and oppresion in organisations.



I think that some organisations/businesses/churches are built in such a way that abuse of power (and silence) become endemic. In the church the only hope I see is:

1) Structure - the group needs to be taught/shown that it has to embrace the 'leave the ninety-nine to find the one' principle. That is, group self preservation should never be the goal; especially at the expense of the vulnerable.

2) Culture - there needs to be a constant fight against the leaning towards personal aspiration in the context of the church. The model above reflects the fact that those increasingly close to the centre have something to lose (inclusion/ministry/job/aspiration) by speaking out.

3) Posture - leaders (and whole congregations) need to be encouraged to develop empathy by being taught how to see the world from the bottom up rather than the top down. This has implications because I would suggest that it means the end of a professional class of paid ministers in the usual sense. The 'preferential option for the poor' idea from liberation theology could be used to work for a 'preferential option for the oppressed' in any given context (gender, sexuality, race, academic, wealth etc).

None of what I suggest is perfect but I rarely see it in the discussions had by many of the larger groups/churches/conferences.


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