“Because power is a forbidden topic in organisations, and particularly in volunteer organisations, there is seldom any proper discussion of two key aspects of organisational life: the place of competition and/or conflict and the role or meaning of democracy in work. If they are talked about at all it is under the heading of organisation politics, and in this context ‘politics’ is assumed to be bad.
Such myopia is misguided. Organisations are communities, societies in their own right. They cannot avoid the questions [concerning power/control] which beset all societies. …To push these issues under the table is not to solve them; to brandish grandiloquent slogans –‘we are all one family’ or conflict has no place’—only outlaws discussion of the topic without adding to an understanding of it. If organisations [such as our mission and member care organisations] are going to be effective social institutions, they need to grapple with these issues, which are not going to disappear as long as human beings live and work together.” (pp. 75-76)