Monday, February 20, 2006

Proven wrong!

For once in class I thought I knew it all. I saw in the description for Chapter 9 that Thompkins was going to try to correlate organizational communications and Spiderman. Now first, you're listening to one of the biggest comic book geeks around; I did stand in line for 8 hours to see Batman Begins, have been spotted at national comic book conventions, and could explain the works of Loeb, Miller, and Quesada much more than I could Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, or Twain. So I'm reading through Chapter 9 and it gets to the much anticipated portion dealing with Spiderman, the movie.

How surprised was I when the chapter cited the actions of one Norman Osborne! I'm not trying to belittle the knowledge garnered from this example. It is a simple and clear demonstration how government pressure can lead to a shift in organizational culture; from creation, invention, and most importantly safety to schedules, deadlines, and ultimately bureaucracy. Here we see the absence of such crucial organizational concepts such as automatic responsibility, penetration, and Monday notes. It drove its well-intentioned leader and CEO to take radical action and inject himself with a poisonous syrum just to please his employers. Just like with NASA, we see that organizational communications can have disasterous results as he transforms into the Green Goblin and reaks terror to New York City.

Now that whole anecdote may be all well and good, but how could Tompkin be so blind? He must not have watched the whole film nor seen its succesful sequel, because he clearly forgot to mention the film's most famous (and in this case extremely relevant) quote from good ol' Uncle Ben; "With great power comes great responsibility." We can see how this anecdote applies to organizational communications. With Tompkin's discussion of Enron, Wal-Mart, Tyco, and the McWane corporation, he revealed the importance of speaking truth to power and individual accountability. The question of if these corporations are just a few "bad apples" or if its becoming a cultural issue shows the need for these concepts in today's organizational leaders. If these people can recognize the power they yield and respect the responsibility that they have, perhaps we wouldn't bear witness to so many organizational transgressions and corporate scandals. I believe this anecdote by ol' Uncle Ben is much more relevant and forecasting to organizational communications than the events of Norman Osborne. Maybe it's me trying to prove I should have been right but I thought bringing this up with a current Spiderman-mindset may be helpful to you all. Hope this helps.