Tuesday, August 21, 2007

American companies and religion

A new behavioural hypothesis has been forming in my mind recently, something I hadn’t thought about much before I started to research Atheism and Religion more seriously, it goes like this. Having personally worked for several different American corporations over the years and recently reading about the (real) religious landscape in a lot of the USA, something struck me, that is, how one is so strongly a cultural reflection of the other.

There seem to be a number of principals that are engrained in the zeitgeist of the American corporation (at least the ones I've worked for) and are similarly important attributes of most religions (especially in the USA), Dilbert author Scott Adams has already covered most of these in spades here, but IMO the key ones are

1. You can't criticize anything
2. The truth isn't important
3. They are not meritocracies
4. They are dogmatic
5. They don't evolve (in fact they don't believe in it!)
6. Faith is more important than quality or ability

Of course, I'm not saying that all corporations have all of these properties; but I bet most people can recognise some of the elements where they work. The few UK corporations I have experience of certainly seem to have some of these traits but to a lesser degree; scepticism and it's darker cousin cynicism seems much more evident here, in fact is almost valued in some places, although having said that, we seem to have much bigger social issues with evolution (in a business sense) and social etiquette/class than over the pond.

Another interesting facet of this is where the company is located; this seems to correlate very strongly with my perception of the religiousness of the state, i.e. less around the edges and more in the middle; what you would expect I suppose.

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