- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 42 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press inc.
- Audible.com Release Date: April 16, 2015
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00W8MVYQC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank Audiobook – Unabridged
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Fuller's book is important to scholars of servant-leadership because it concerns itself directly with the living, breathing subjects at the wrong end of society's power equations, the ones whom Greenleaf asked after in his "best test": "And [italics original], what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?" (1977, p. 27).
Fuller's thesis is a sprawling one that cuts across many disciplines and related works. In annotating the text, I wrote "cf." everywhere in the margins: cf. Maslow; cf. Eric Berne; cf. Kierkegaard; cf. Nel Noddings; cf. Mill; etc. The book is treasure trove of insights, reflections, inspiring quotations, and, above all, a call for a social morality that recognizes the innate dignity and worth of every human being in every situation and at every moment.
Members of our present society objectify themselves and others by becoming, or valuing others, as either a "somebody" or a "nobody." In either case, the person is objectified and ceases to be real in a relational way. Fuller wrote that "attachment to somebody status is ultimately as futile and self-defeating as resignation to permanent nobody status. Somebodies who can't get down off their pedestals turn into stautes" (p. 41). On the other hand, for so-called nobodies "rankism takes a wide variety of forms, including maltreatment, discrimination, disrespect, discourtesy, disdain, derision, and condescension" (p. 98).
Fuller's great contribution to the servant-leadership literature is his insistence that that voice of the "nobody" should be heard when the "somebody" is making a decision.
Rank is inevitable in organizations as we differentiate by function and role. Rank is neutral. However, "rankism" raises its ugly head when rank, using the power linked to it, is abused.
We're often oblivious to the abuse of rank. It's the way things are. We're used to those in power being oppressive, or, maybe, we're in charge. In "Seeing Systems," author Barry Oshry describes the predictable experiences of a customer as one of being ignored and the "Bottoms" of the organization as vulnerable and disregarded. After Fuller left posts of college president and physics professor, THEN he felt its full effect.
In my mind, rankism hurts twice. It's a direct attack on the dignity of each person and it robs the organization of the gifts people offer while being discounted.
--Jack H. Bender, author of Disregarded: Transforming the School and Workplace through Deep Respect and Courage