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14. “Organizations should be structured in a clear hierarchy1 in which the people at each level, from top to bottom, are held accountable for completing a particular component2 of the work. Any other organizational structure goes against human nature and will ultimately prove fruitless.”
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above. Support your point of view with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.
The speaker claims that all organizations should include a clear hierarchy of accountability because any other structure would work against human nature and therefore prove fruitless in the end. This claim gives rise to complex issues about human nature and the social structures best suited to it. In my view, the claim assumes a distortedly narrow view of human nature, ignoring certain aspects of it that are undermined by hierarchical structure in ways that ultimately hurt the organization.
First, the organizational structure the speaker recommends undermines the nexus3 between worker and product that facilitates efficiency and productivity. When employees are responsible for just their small component of work, they can easily lose sight of larger organizational goals and the importance of their role in realizing these goals. In turn, workers will feel alienated4, unimportant, and unmotivated to do work they are proud of. These effects cannot help but damage the organization in the end.
Second, compartmentalizing tasks in a hierarchical structure stifles5 creativity. An acquaintance of mine worked for a company that had established a rigid6 organizational barrier between designers and engineers. The designers often provided the engineers with concepts that were unworkable from an engineering standpoint. Conversely, whenever an engineer offered a design idea that allowed for easier engineering, the designers would simply warn the engineer not to interfere7. This is a typical case where organizational barriers operate against creativity, harming the organization in the end.
Third, strict hierarchy undermines the collegiality and cooperation among coworkers needed for a sense of common purpose and pride in accomplishment8. The message from the designers to the engineers at my friend’s company produced just the opposite—resentment between the two departments, low morale9 among the engineers whose creative suggestions were ignored, and ultimate resignation to do inferior work with an attitude that developing ideas is a waste of time.
In sum, the speaker seems to assume that humans are essentially10 irresponsible and unmotivated, and that they therefore need external motivation by way of a layered bureaucratic11 structure. The speaker misunderstands human nature, which instead requires creative exercise and sense of purpose and pride in accomplishment. By stifling12 these needs with organizational barriers, the organization is ultimately worse off.


1 hierarchy 7d7xN     
  • There is a rigid hierarchy of power in that country.那个国家有一套严密的权力等级制度。
  • She's high up in the management hierarchy.她在管理阶层中地位很高。
2 component epSzv     
  • Each component is carefully checked before assembly.每个零件在装配前都经过仔细检查。
  • Blade and handle are the component parts of a knife.刀身和刀柄是一把刀的组成部分。
3 nexus vvHyq     
  • Shared ambition is the vital nexus between them.共同的志向是把他们联结在一起的重要纽带。
  • Either way,the nexus between the consumer and consumer prices is important.无论那个方面,消费者与消费价格之间的关系是至关重要的。
4 alienated Ozyz55     
adj.感到孤独的,不合群的v.使疏远( alienate的过去式和过去分词 );使不友好;转让;让渡(财产等)
  • His comments have alienated a lot of young voters. 他的言论使许多年轻选民离他而去。
  • The Prime Minister's policy alienated many of her followers. 首相的政策使很多拥护她的人疏远了她。 来自《简明英汉词典》
5 stifles 86e39af153460bbdb81d558a552a1a70     
(使)窒息, (使)窒闷( stifle的第三人称单数 ); 镇压,遏制
  • This stifles the development of the financial sector. 这就遏制了金融部门的发展。
  • The fruits of such a system are a glittering consumer society which stifles creativity and individuality. 这种制度的结果就是一个压制创造性和个性的闪光的消费者社会。
6 rigid jDPyf     
  • She became as rigid as adamant.她变得如顽石般的固执。
  • The examination was so rigid that nearly all aspirants were ruled out.考试很严,几乎所有的考生都被淘汰了。
7 interfere b5lx0     
  • If we interfere, it may do more harm than good.如果我们干预的话,可能弊多利少。
  • When others interfere in the affair,it always makes troubles. 别人一卷入这一事件,棘手的事情就来了。
8 accomplishment 2Jkyo     
  • The series of paintings is quite an accomplishment.这一系列的绘画真是了不起的成就。
  • Money will be crucial to the accomplishment of our objectives.要实现我们的目标,钱是至关重要的。
9 morale z6Ez8     
  • The morale of the enemy troops is sinking lower every day.敌军的士气日益低落。
  • He tried to bolster up their morale.他尽力鼓舞他们的士气。
10 essentially nntxw     
  • Really great men are essentially modest.真正的伟人大都很谦虚。
  • She is an essentially selfish person.她本质上是个自私自利的人。
11 bureaucratic OSFyE     
  • The sweat of labour washed away his bureaucratic airs.劳动的汗水冲掉了他身上的官气。
  • In this company you have to go through complex bureaucratic procedures just to get a new pencil.在这个公司里即使是领一支新铅笔,也必须通过繁琐的手续。
12 stifling dhxz7C     
  • The weather is stifling. It looks like rain. 今天太闷热,光景是要下雨。
  • We were stifling in that hot room with all the windows closed. 我们在那间关着窗户的热屋子里,简直透不过气来。