Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mass Seduction Bain Corporate Cultism Style

Or How Millions Could Become Romniacs

 This election has more at stake than one might see at a cursory glance, which is what most Americans are giving the campaign by now and during the summer, cursory glances. What slipped through the SCOTUS in 2000 may again manifest itself in the 2012 elections, that is another administration identical to that of George W's, but this time with a cultish figurehead.

Romney’s “Flip-Flops And Business Success” Are Connected Because “Abandoning Deeply Held Attitudes And Reversing Positions Are Job Requirements” For CEOs.
“So, how are Romney’s flip-flops and business success connected? People suspect, perhaps correctly, that Romney really doesn’t believe all the things he’s saying. … [S]uch hypocrisy, which turns off voters, is something like a job requirement for CEOs. In the executive suite, abandoning deeply held attitudes and reversing positions are job requirements. How often have you seen a CEO proclaim that a struggling unit is not for sale, only to put it on the block a few months later? A CEO will praise a product to the skies one day and then cancel it the next. He’ll boast, sincerely, that his companyis No. 1 in the industry and then, when he quits the next day to run a rival, claim that the new firm is tops.”
(DanielGross, “The CEO Candidate,”, 2/26/07)
Found in:

"The unravelings of Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom have raised searching questions about corporate leadership and even shaken investors’ faith in corporate America. These debacles have revealed incompetent, unethical, and massively self-serving individuals atop corporations."
("The Cult of the Charismatic CEO", Craig Lambert, Harvard Magazine, September-October 2002)

Corporate cultism naturally engenders CEO worship, especially celebrity CEOs. Romney certainly now certainly qualifies in this regard, coming to the American public claiming to be “I’m Basically In The Investors’ Hall Of Fame.”  (John McElhenny, “Romney, O’Brien Spar At Gubernatorial Debate,” The Associated Press , 10/25/02). There are many pitfalls and dangers in the CEO selection process, one being that now "No longer a sober administrator pretty much unknown outside the company, the CEO was a charismatic leader, understood to embody quasi-religious vision, values, and mission. Who dared to question a sacred leader" ? (See Craig Lambert's "The Cult of the Charismatic CEO" in Harvard Magazine). Many are now carefully hand picked under the heavy influence of major investor groups, not simply voted in by a board of directors that is recommended by that board's chairperson. Note that Romney's style never even included the usual board's process, usually retaining all these posts for himself and directing his company in a cruel dictatorial style of management, not easily described as leadership. It follows then, that how can we expect one's subordinates to have any empathy towards the thousands of jobs including managerial positions swept aside in the name of profits ?

“The Boston-based venture capitalist likes to be in control. ‘(At SLOC) I don’t have the kind of control I’m used to in thebusiness world,’ he said. ‘When I was involved in (the resurrection of the beleaguered international firm BainConsulting), I insisted on having almost dictatorial powers. … That was essential.’” (Lisa Riley Roche, “Mitt ExemplifiesThe New Openness Sought For SLOC,” Deseret News , 2/12/99)

“[S]ome colleagues found Romney to be manipulative. Romney had an ability to identify people’s insecurities and exploit them to his own benefit,’ says a source who worked with Romney but refused to be quoted for ‘fear of retribution.’ This source says that Romney would vary bonuses among his partners just enough to put people on edge, giving $3.1 million to one, $3 million to another and $2.9 million to another.” (Evan Thomas et al, “Is Mitt Romney Ready For Prime-Time Politics?” Newsweek , 4/16/07)

Comparative studies: ( When Cults Collide: How Big Sports and CEO Worship Threaten Societies, Lynn ParramoreDecember 13, 2011,

And a prime indicator of things at Bain under Romney was the demand for purity, as well as self sacrifice making huge contributions towards his campaigns. (Chapter 22: "Ideological Totalism, The Demand for Purity", Robert Jay Lifton, 1989, University of North Carolina Press)

"Transformational Leadership, Corporate Cultism and the Spirituality Paradigm: An Unholy Trinity in the Workplace?", Dennis Tourish and Ashly Pinnington Human Relations 2002, Sage Publications

Corporate Cults: The Insidious Lure of the All-Consuming Organization, by Dave Arnott

"Typically, cults have a shared commitment to a charismatic leader and uphold a transcendent ideology, the nature of which varies dramatically from group to group but which is as likely to be secular in nature as it is religious (Lalich, 2004). A cult’s leader therefore possesses enormous authority in the eyes of his or her followers.
Having invested many of their hopes for a better life in the leader, followers are intrinsically motivated to look positively on the leader’s words and actions. The resulting  high commitment of members is usually expressed in Stakhonivite work norms which mean that the group environment virtually monopolises their time. Members also replace their pre-existing beliefs and values with those of the group, lose confidence in their own perceptions in favour of those of the group’s leaders, and
experience social punishments such as shunning by other members if they deviate from carefully prescribed norms (Langone, 1995; Singer, 1987). Conformity is critical. The outcome is an environment dominated by what has been described as ‘bounded choice’ (Lalich, 2004) – i.e. one in which the expression of only a limited and tightly regulated repertoire of beliefs, behaviours and emotions is permissible."
"In particular, Maccoby (2000) suggests that many charismatic leaders are narcissists. They have a strong need for power, high self confidence and strong convictions (De Vries et al., 1999). However, whatever their virtues, narcissists tend to be overly sensitive to criticism, can be poor listeners, lack empathy, have a distaste for mentoring and display an intense desire to compete (Maccoby, 2000). In addition, Conger (1990: 50) has argued that charismatic leaders may find themselves prone to:
Exaggerated self-descriptions.
Exaggerated claims for the vision.
A technique of fulfilling stereotypes and images of uniqueness to manipulate audiences.
A habit of gaining commitment by restricting negative information and maximizing positive information.
Use of anecdotes to distract attention away from negative statistical information.
Creation of an illusion of control through affirming information and attributing negative outcomes to external causes."

"Charismatic Leadership and Corporate Cultism at Enron: The Elimination of Dissent, the Promotion of Conformity and Organizational Collapse", Dennis Tourish and Naheed Vatcha, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, UK

“These business flips are fine, because in the corporate world, people don’t confuse advocacy of acompany’s strategy or products and services with personal honor or integrity. … Good CEOs don’t simply stakeout public positions and stick to them for 20 years. They devise new business strategies and business plans to cope with changing market conditions.” (Daniel Gross, “The CEO Candidate,”, 2/26/07)

“It is clear that Romney approaches politics not as a crusade but as a business case study. He doesn’t run in elections, he competes in markets. In 1994, the former management consultant knew his market. … Today, Romney correctly recognizes that what is appropriate for one market (Massachusetts voters) clearly is not appropriate for another market (Republican-primary voters).” (Daniel Gross, “The CEO Candidate,”, 2/26/07

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