In the past, status symbols for senior management were regarded as vital. These
days, some companies are already breaking free from old-fashioned ideas of status
In some countries, open plan offices shared by the manager have been popular for
some time. Recent indications show that many more companies are moving towards more
open management. Offices shared by managers and other employees are an example of
this. The manager may share an office with other employees but usually he or she
is at a discreet distance from them or has the best position, near the window!
In Scandinavia, the idea that "to assume responsibility is, in itself, a privilege"
has been accepted for a long time. The participative style of management sometimes
encourages employees to tell the Chief Executive what is wrong with the company
and where improvements can be made. As a result, senior management are regarded
as more approachable by their employees who, in turn, feel that their contributions
to the company are valued.
Management style has changed considerably over the last few years. In the past,
management and workers were completely separate, even to the extent of having separate
restaurants for lunch. "Single status" canteens are now very common.
In some companies, "perks", formerly enjoyed by senior executives are being extended
to all workers. This includes holiday houses, which can be used by employees and
also the opportunity to participate in company share saver schemes.
In some, more traditional, companies change has to be introduced more gradually
as the symbols of status are regarded as very important by employees. For example,
in certain companies, the model of car is an indicator of which grade of management
a person has reached. Even office furniture and fittings can be status symbols.
The withdrawal of such items of recognition can be seen as de-motivating in companies
where such symbols have been important.
The attempt to reduce status symbols should not be linked to ideas of democracy
or equality in the workplace, it is purely concerned with involvement, which must
surely strengthen most companies.
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