Power was Getting Heard

Joy Frestedt frest001 at MAROON.TC.UMN.EDU
Sat Jan 20 12:55:58 EST 1996


The post by Karen Rengefors below is an excellent thing to think about and 
solve at future meetings.  I do not want to live like this in my 
professional life, but, unfortunately, this is quite an accurate portrayal 
of what I've seen in academic life.  The story is a powerful example of 
what works in a den of powerful unethical people.  I wonder if anything 
else works to change this ingrained behavior - certainly I do not think 
adopting the same unacceptable behavior just to be heard will make the 
situation better - although if the only goal is to be heard and gain power 
then I guess we all should simply repeat and reinforce the inappropriate 
behavior around us.  

Karen wrote "Berit described 5 techniques by which power is attained 
(or how other people are kept silent and powerless)
1. make other people invisible
2. make fun or ridicule people
3. withold information
4. double punishment - "damned if you do, damned if you don't"
5. place blame and shame"

I would much rather see all of us as mature adults reinforcing each other 
and looking forward rather than backward.  I hope this description of 
POWER is enlightening and able to be changed.  If each of us takes 
responsibility for NOT reinforcing this INAPPROPRIATE behavior by our 
words and deeds, perhaps we can CHANGE this pathetic human behavior 
pattern.  If, as individuals we use this behavior to get ahead...


Joy


----- Forwarded message begins here -----
From: Karin Rengefors  <Karin.Rengefors at limno.uu.se>
To: womenbio at net.bio.net
Date: 18 Jan 1996 17:15:42 GMT
Subject: Re: Getting Heard
How to get heard...

I recently watched a videofilmed lecture on this subject by a norwegian 
politician & psychologist called Berit Aas.  Berit described how her 
male colleagues ignored her during meetings, and how they would repeat 
her ideas and get credit for it. Berit decided to study her male 
colleague's behaviour. She observed that the men did several things 
while she was speaking. Some would start looking into their papers and 
journals, others would whisper something to a neighbour, others would 
frown and shake their heads, some would even get up and walk over to the 
soda machine and get something to drink WHILE she was talking. She then 
decided to do an experiment:

While one of the men was speaking on a subject on which she had an 
opinion and suggestion she started doing just what they had done to her. 
She whispered something to the person next to her, giggled, frowned, 
shook her head, looked down on her papers. When he was done, she rose 
and told her opinion/idea on the subject. And it worked! Everybody 
listened to her. Then the chairman spoke, saying that he agreed with her 
and told everyone that he supported her suggestion and told them that 
she was very knowledgable in this area!

Berit described 5 techniques by which power is attained (or how other 
people are kept silent and powerless)

1. make other people invisible
2. make fun or ridicule people
3. withold information
4. double punishment - "damned if you do, damned if you don't"
5. place blame and shame

Karin
------ Forwarded message ends here ------

Joy L Frestedt, PhD candidate
Pathobiology program, Lab Med and Path
University of Minnesota Medical School
Box 86 UMHC
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612)625-5676
frest001 at maroon.tc.umn.edu



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