A-Z of Ethical Communication in Education: H is for Hierarchy

Hierachy is the stratification of people within a system based on levels of responsibility, importance and due deference earned through compassionate and purposeful action. In an ethical school, college or university this would mean a celebration of those achieving well, a training up of those moving ‘up’ the hierarchy chain and a benign intention to progress the wellbeing of those ‘underneath.’. Those working within such a system are more likely to feel held, have purpose, want to support others and creatively move forward in the way they work and thrive. 

 In an unethical place of learning, over-reliance on hierarchy and the expectation of due deference at the expense of purposeful action can breed nepotism, bullying, narcissism, acts that benefit the few not the many. Unethical practices such as covering up inhumane action (use of NDA’s now so McCommon), being a bully or becoming bullied, communicating through aggressive and derogatory statements can thrive. Results might include feeling defensive, experiencing ill effects of wellbeing, losing confidence and potentially developing conditions such as PTSD, depression or a desire for self-harm. I, Neil Lawrence, have experienced all of the last three for that very reason.

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