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How to avoid the "bystander effect" after Covid-19

Harvard Business Review (2019) stated that the ’bystander effect’ could explain why public secrets in an organization are not brought to the top management’s attention.

When multiple employees have the same knowledge about a problem, the individual feels less responsibility to speak up and rather wait for someone else to take action. It is similar to when people slow down or even stop at a traffic accident but rarely help.

But what if in the hindsight of COVID19 we have to re-create the company’s business strategy and the same paralysis of action occurs because everyone in the organisation knows that the future is challenging and “someone” should do something…

We will argue that it is a warning sign if the business strategy, as usual, is updated and decided by the few for the many, on top of the pandemic.

If top management isn’t willing to invite, empower and making constructive use of the existing body of knowledge to enable necessary changes to be implemented but instead makes employees to ”bystanders", you organization will be in trouble.

We believe that before adjusting actions in an updated business strategy it is crucial for everyone in the organisation to align and agree on how the pandemic has affected the organization and identify limitations and opportunities it has brought for daily operation and future market.

Collaboration, commitment and shared ownership across business units to an adjusted business strategy is a prerequisite for successful change and transformation.


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