It is not uncommon for a special breed of office goers to be berated at work, by colleagues, seniors or even management for being argumentative, or for not towing the line, or more specifically, for being dissenters. But then Andrew Millar, who refers to himself as a chronic dissenter, throws up some startling numbers that would put things into perspective.
So, where does dissent origin and how does a company make the most of it. Millar draws our attention to how having the proverbial ‘Yes Men’ is never a driver of progress. “The Cuban Missile Crisis” was successfully resolved as late US President Kennedy actively sought out dissent. This is in contrast to the manner in which he handled the Bay of Pigs invasion.” According to a study conducted in Netherlands centred on the Power Distance Index, which establishes how comfortable a population is with the distribution of power. For instance, in Russia and China, hierarchy is both accepted and expected. This however concentrates power, which in turn, quashes dissent. On the other hand, countries like Austria and Denmark have a flatter hierarchy, which become places where respect has to be earned.
Millar also classifies people into three categories – the colluders, who have a need to belong more than the need to be heard; the second is adversaries, who have more need to be heard, than to belong; dissenters want to be heard and to belong. Work cultures that tolerate the third kind are the ones that are able to create magic.