Look, even for the most well-established business advisory firms or individuals, it’s very easy for one to sit in their comfortable chair and criticise workers of a certain establishment for not really understanding just how much power they possess in their hands. They likely do indeed understand, but are even likelier just part of a system which doesn’t incentivise them to entertain thoughts of that power, let alone develop and deploy it.
Think about it from the point of view of a typical employee. The eight hours of soul-crushing work have you not wanting to have anything to do with work-related matters once you knock-off and certainly not on your officially designated private time, like over weekends. And nobody can blame them.
The bigwigs are paid the big bucks to not only make sure everyone else has a job they can actually come in to, but also that they’ll have those jobs in the future. So in the event that these bigwigs proclaim defeat to an impending liquidation as a result of insolvency, it can probably be assumed with near 100% certainty that all avenues have been exhausted and that that’s the best course of action to follow.
Nobody wants to have to carry the record of having overseen the loss of hundreds of jobs, especially at an organisation that has grown to become a huge part of the economic identity of a specific region or an entire country.
Let’s play the devil’s advocate for a bit though and try to flip the argument on its head and view things from a different point…
Doing so suggests that employees do indeed possess a whole lot more strength and power than they’re aware of. The major problem is perhaps that they’re afraid to even attempt to use that power, as doing so might appear to resemble shooting themselves in the foot. It might resemble trying to kill off the owner of the hand that feeds you, so to say and so it’s usually an area left completely alone.
Another very powerful psychological barrier to any thoughts of an attempt to exercise that power is that of just how difficult self-organisation is. Sure, when the giant Grangemouth petrochemical plant in central Scotland was on a collision course with a permanent shut down, an outsider looking in might be baffled at the fact that the workers appeared not to realise that they could probably very successfully facilitate something like an employee takeover.
After all, among themselves, they clearly have all the knowledge required to run a company such as the one they’re employed to fill their respective roles in. Consequently, some kind of leadership figures could take the initiative to rise up to the requisite leadership roles and the staff can collectively seek to keep the business running.
As things stand it appears as if the once certain path to insolvency was duly avoided, but to the critical onlooker who might be mulling over the clear indifference of the employees to the power they possess, who’s to say they didn’t in fact self-organise and exercise that collective power to keep the company from going under?