This past weekend was Easter weekend and it got me thinking about organized religion, and about how corporations actually reflect similar characteristics to these institutions, whether they realize it or not.
Some people would say that organized religion is a way to build community, to create bonds with like-minded people who share similar values, beliefs and ideals. In this community-focused religion, people support each other, motivate each other, they play together and pray together, and they are even encouraged to question the very foundation their religion is built upon. This is done so that the religion can stay current, meet the needs of its followers and attract and inspire new membership.
Other people would say that organized religion is merely a way to control the masses, to indoctrinate people to follow set values, beliefs and ideals, at all costs, and in some circumstances, suffer dire consequences should followers stray from the path.
In this control-focused religion, there are often underlying feelings of fear, guilt, shame and being out of integrity. Followers are encouraged to follow blindly and accept that their religious leaders know what they are doing, and they are not encouraged to question the status quo.
Regardless of which view you may have about organized religion, chances are that the corporation you work in functions very much like one of the two examples I gave you, or somewhere in between.
Does your organization foster community or exercise control? Are you allowed to question the fundamental principles of the company or expected to perpetuate the status quo? If your corporation was an organized religion, would you want to be one of it’s members? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Here’s a take on organized religion by Dana Carvey;