Themes > Management > Changing status?
Changing status?

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 and convention.

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 changes

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.

Reading for meaning

When you read an article, you can often guess the words you do not know from the context.

Find words or expressions in the above article which have the following meanings:

a. intentionally not attracting attention by behaviour or appearance
b. special advantage, opportunity or honour
c. restaurant in a company or factory where employees can eat
d. advantages or benefits such as luncheon vouchers or a company car given to employees
e. take part in an activity
f. taking away
the belief in freedom and equality among people



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