Monday, June 28, 2021

Status Quoism

If you are like me, you would have had that story popping up all over the place on Social media. The one about the fisherman and the business executive. Where the corporate honcho tells the fisherman to stop idling and go dashing about, hither and yon, collecting money. So that, eventually, he can relax and enjoy life fishing. To which the fisherman says, "So what exactly am I doing now?"

Now, me, I think about the business executive...not being a fisherman. Not that I was much of a business executive but for the fact that I have the degree. See, the whole point about all that dashing about, climbing the corporate ladder (rung by slippery rung, as one of my friends put it pithily) IS to end up in a position where you can just coast along eventually, metaphorically fishing.

Which, essentially, is to say that you try to reach a position where change is something that other people have to do, not yourself. I mean, really, what's the point in huffing and puffing up the ladder if you still have to handle the stress of change?

And, thus, the biggest proponents of the status quo are the people with power. I mean, yeah, they are not necessarily against change as long it is only others who have to grapple with change. Not when it interferes with their own 'fishing'. Not to mention that you never know what will happen with change. After all, it IS the status quo in which they hold power. Who knows if change will allow them to keep their position or topple them?

You can visibly see that in the inter-functional interactions within an organisation. There are these production-centric organisations where the production guys have the last word. Finance may scream that their product is expensive, marketing can cry themselves hoarse that the features they build are not seen by the customers as worth the price, but their attitude would be, "We will build the sort of product we want to build; it is for you people to find a way to keep the costs as low as possible and/or to sell it at a price which makes it profitable."

Give the marketing guys the final say and it will all be, "Oh! This won't sell! People are only buying this, so produce it." I mean, like, take a look at the world of books, these days. It's all chick lit and myth re-tellings in India because that is what sells. As and when someone, normally a self-published author, manages to prove that some other genre sells, THEN there will be a beeline for that.

Essentially, the moment a chap or a function gets power his attempt is to make HIS job easy. Which essentially means that he no longer tries to DRIVE change, cos THAT means he has to work and innovate at it. It is only someone who is still hungry for success who strives to upend the status quo, not the one whose 'fishing' will get affected by any disturbance in the status quo.

Which applies as much to sociology in general, not just management. The people who expect to BENEFIT from the change and the people who expect not to LOSE anything by the change (either because they have already got theirs or because they have got nothing) are generally the most ardent supporters of the change. People who see something to lose, though...

WHAT? You know people who have something to lose and still support change? Sure you do, there are always exceptions to any rule. They do not prove that the rule is wrong, though.

Otherwise, you'd be giving out career advice saying, "Drop out of school and moon around in your garage. You'll become a billionaire"!


  1. Excellent dissection of status quoism.
    Great insights biggest proponents of the status quo are the people with power', 'people who expect to BENEFIT from the change and the people who expect not to LOSE anything by the change'.

    1. The latter support change. 😀 Thanks Sudhakar