Let’s Throw it Away: Authoritarianism Every Organization May Fall Into

What is authoritarianism and anti-authoritarian?

Hi, this is Keiji Nakamura, the CEO of ISAO corp.

I know this is sudden, but I am an ‘Anti-Authoritarian’.

I, speaking from my experience of working in various organizations, personally believe authoritarian is not the right concept in work and am trying to create and work in teams without it.

Let’s first check out the definition of ‘authoritarianism.’

“Authoritarianism is the attitude, ideology, and system of individuals or social organizations that is subject to authority.
The system that emphasizes authority forms a hierarchy based on authority, has elitism, and may be fixed as substantive power or class”
Cited from: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/権威主義

In short, it means to accept and obey those in power or higher positions without any criticism.

Authoritarianism in an organization

Not only larger companies, but also smaller companies often have such following culture and preconception:

  • What those in higher positions (chiefs, executives, or managers) intention is absolute and must be done.
  • The office has the atmosphere that doesn’t allow subordinates to question their bosses.
  • Those who are in superior positions take dominant attitudes to subordinates.

In one sentence, it is to be arrogant.

Do any of these happen in your companies and organizations?

Or, do you happen to do any of these yourself?

Unwanted arrogance in daily contexts

We know some people who are usually humble and kind, but speaks oppressively against, for example, taxi drivers and restaurant service persons without reasonable whys.

I cannot help feeling “Who on earth are you?” when I see anyone young but being too arrogant to a taxi driver at around the age of their parents.

It is not that I’m saying you can do this when you’re older, but especially, I am completely against the attitudes with which they show no respect to the seniors.

Some might do the same thing in work.
When someone is an orderer (or in a superior position), they might speak arrogant to the people receiving the orders.

These people are not seeing their counterparts but seeing only their positions.

This applies for the bosses being arrogant to their subordinates.

They take this attitude of looking down when talking because their counterparts are in lower positions.

The same applies for the people being unnecessarily harsh or speaking offensively to those who are less in power at an office, or trainees.

What do you feel when you see those people?

Maybe you’d try to be nice to them because you don’t want to cause troubles, but you probably don’t want to be their partners to get successful together.

Encouragement for ‘anti’-authoritarianism

In ISAO, we have a strong desire to run our organization without such authoritarianism.

I have made this clear even before the installation of Super Flat Organization.

We pursue relationships equally fair with which people show respect to each other.

By the way, the terms ‘open’ and ‘team’ in ISAO Spirits represent this concept as well.

ISAO Spirits

  • Challenge what’s new out there.
  • Honor yourself, love what you do.
  • Be open, be authentic.
  • See the unseen.
  • Trust your team.

Nobody needs to give up his/her opinions, and everybody can present them with confidence and feeling of security, regardless of their positions.

At the same time, everybody keeps in mind the respect to the others.

This is the team that I truly want to be in.