Truth in Management and Power Relationships

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Throughout history, philosophers have come up with their versions of the actual definition for ‘truth’. The Greek philosopher Aristotle had explained truth as “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true” [1]. Aristotle explains that truth can be described as that something that is definite and distinct in its own form, nature or identity. Another Greek sophist and philosopher Protagoras held the view that “man is the measure of all things, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not that they are not”[2]. According to him, every person’s opinion of truth is based his or her own perception of truth. In the famous Greek poet Homer’s epic Odyssey, there is one instance when the Greek hero Odysseus did not actually reveal the truth when he says “I will tell you all the truth”[3]. In his epics, there are characters that hold back information or tell lies. In the present day management, we have to be cautious as to how we go about telling the truth to our subordinates or colleagues. There are multiple scenarios that we have to consider before revealing the truth. Sometimes, we may end up in situations whereby we have to cover up the truth to protect our integrity and position in the company or organization. Socrates, an Athenian Greek Philosopher once quoted: “You, my friend, are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of yourself which you never regard or heed at all?[2]” We can relate to his quote in today’s fast paced times, when in the quest for power, wealth and reputation, we tend to forget our very basic virtues of being righteous and truthful. I can quote an example of my personal experience whilst working in a semiconductor company where my supervisor and colleague were from Philippines. I used to have reservations...
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