Joe’s Journal: On the Dignity of the Worker, From the Boss to the Sweeper
“To attack industrial society, as would the sentimental equalitarian, because it is based on subordination instead of on formal equality is a misunderstanding of the nature of both industry and society. Like every other institution that coordinates human efforts to a social end, the corporation must be organized on hierarchical lines. But, also, everybody from the boss to the sweeper must be seen as equally necessary to the success of the common enterprise.”
—Peter F. Drucker
Formal authority is essential in all organizations. Peter Drucker spent a lifetime working on methods to legitimatize formal authority.
Ultimately, this requires commitment by all to the mission of an organization and a leadership style promoting both responsibility-based management and servant leadership.
Responsibility-based management is embodied in Drucker’s proposal that everyone assume a certain level of managerial responsibility for his or her task and work group. Servant leadership recognizes the dignity of work and of the worker.
Individual dignity is a fundamental human right derived, in the United States, from the trajectory of human rights following the thinking of the Enlightenment and the writings of our Founding Fathers. When translated into organizing the cooperative effort of organizations, it leads to equality of opportunity, which is the promise of our nation.