North American (US) mentality part III…

Posted on July 6, 2009

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…Second, authority is seldom questioned. Maybe this function can be seen as related to the first function (see blog before this). I you have success then you must be right. Authority is never really questioned.

I can not find an answer to the origin of this belief in authority. But I experience this phenomena as a total uncritical and blind belief in/accept of authorities.

Seen from a management position you can describe the function as: The power distance between employer and employee is relatively broad.

What does this function mean? This belief in authority is, as I see it, both a contributor but also a halting function to the evolution of american society.


A contributor because it has made possible the fast moving of big crowds towards individual established end-states and goals. But also transformation of established systems and structures. And this can be seen as a great support to the needed dynamics when in a time of transformation. If you want to move fast and change things – long discussions can postpone or flatten decisions.

But also a halting function to american development and progress. The thought of not being able to be critical towards your employer, your boss, your leader or public authorities means that the quality of decisions in american society are weakened. The more complex a system is, on which you make decisions, the more important is it that you discuss the challenge – before you decide. And to have a discussion you have to be critical. In a hypercomplex world no one can comprehend the essentials alone – not even contextual wise.

If the world have ever been understandable to one person alone – I do not know if this have ever been the case – it certainly is not, today. That is why americans need to be critical at all levels in order to discuss solutions and decisions – in order to construct the best contextual decisions. The critical traditions from especially Germany and the Nordic Countries could be of tremendous support to american evolution and development of a future society mindset/values.

Further, in order to understand the authorities or the successful person – you must do exactly what they have decided. That is why americans produce extreme amounts of directives on how to do things. Just look at at the range and amount of traffic signs. The american way is structural and very detailed. Just follow the list and you will reach the goal I set. This overall approach leads to a very non productive aspect in american culture and behavior: You do not have to think. Just do/follow the detailed written direction. And this basic behavior is, besides the belief in authorities, the one that points to the fact that americans will have a hard time achieving the Collaborative Man mindset.

Posted in: USA