Staff face 'climate of fear'

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The Independent Online
Many big British companies have created a "climate of fear" for employees with high rewards in the boardroom and dispensability for the rest, according to a leading specialist in organisational structure, writes Barrie Clement.

Addressing the annual conference of the Institute of Personnel Development yesterday, Professor Amin Rajan said in 1993, big companies were talking about moving away from paternalism and bureaucracy towards democratic structures with a slimmed-down hierarchy with an emphasis on "empowerment", individual performance and "employability".

But by mid-1995, leading firms were largely unchanged. Where there was change, "the cure was worse than the disease, the workforce was demotivated, effort was more important than performance and there was a climate of fear.

"Organisational structures were becoming oligarchic not democratic: employability meant security and high rewards for senior managers and dispensability for the rest."