Are Hierarchies and Titles Necessary?

Hierarchies and Titles Create Bosses, Leaders, Superiors, Dictators, Red Tape, Boundaries and Who Needs Them; We Don’t

In my previous post (, I hinted that the distant future will see leaderless, boss less or dictator less societies. Human beings will be “human beings” in homes and in social arena. And in the professional domains (in offices, factories, government departments, hospitals, departmental stores etc) these human beings will be “professionals”. Period.
The hierarchies, class divides and titles will not exist- they will become redundant and obsolete.

It is true to some extent even today. A doctor is a doctor today; a surgeon is a surgeon; that’s it. An author is an author, a carpenter is a carpenter, a plumber is a plumber, a tennis player is a tennis player, a movie actor is a movie actor. And all of them are treated as such if they have the desired expertise and more over, if they are good at their craft, they are more in demand and they can command a high price for the services and expertise they offer. Other professionals are still called by their “professional identity” though they may be less in demand and also earn less. In either case, they do not need titles or prefixes or suffixes like junior, assistant, middle, senior, top, additional, joint and what other funny things you can think of.

As soon as you use these kinds of titles with the “profession” of a person, you start putting him in a class oriented society, you start creating hierarchies, you create superiors and inferiors, boss and subordinate, leaders and led and simultaneously you start promoting duplication of work, unnecessary red tape and sluggishness in communication etc. What for?

When you hire the services of any independent contractor whether he is tutor of math to your child, a baby sitter, a plumber, a tailor of your suit etc, you do not turn into his boss or his leader just because you have hired his professional services and the hired professional does not become a subordinate nor does he need your intelligence or advice. He finishes his work, gets paid by you and walks off still with the same “professional identity” with which he did the work you assigned him.

A similar treatment needs to meted out to every professional who joins as a permanent or temporary professional in any organized joint whether that is a factory, an office, a corporation, a government department, hospital or a departmental store.

The hierarchies and titles should be done away with and every professional should be treated on par with any other professional. There is no need to put them on the various rungs of a ladder; all are professionals after all. They get employed if they are good, get paid as per their expertise and as per the supply and demand ratio of that particular professional expertise.

An engineer remains engineer, doctor remains a doctor, actor remains an actor, soccer player remains a soccer player throughout his life unless he acquires some other professional identity by acquiring a new expertise. Where is the need to take him through a plethora of titles throughout his life-time by calling the same person from time to time as junior engineer, assistant engineer, deputy engineer, engineer, senior engineer, chief engineer, assistant manager, deputy manager, manager, senior manager, chief manager, assistant vice president, vice president, deputy senior vice president, senior vice president, group vice president, additional president, president, group president and what have you? Same is true with every other profession.

When the professionals will work like real professionals without the various pressures of hierarchies looming large on them, the overall effectiveness and efficiencies will definitely improve in every project.

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About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
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One Response to Are Hierarchies and Titles Necessary?

  1. Wen says:

    Bookmarked. I enjoy your site.

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