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Handling bosses well is not as easy as it may sound. Still, wise tact serves many. In not a few cases it is not enough, though. If so, good, sound and relevant information may help out. However, there is much of it. Better be warned about that too.

So, organisational relations is a vast topic. Much depends on who has the power, is in control, and how much power is at play.

There are many leader styles. The three most commonly referred to are democratic, authoritarian, and laissez-faire leadership. A leader and his group form a network. The leader is usually the most influential person in a group.

Participative management. The management theorist Douglas McGregor (1960) discerns between two functions of management - to control and motivate. The form of management where motivation has a relatively greater preponderance, may be termed participative management. In it, it is assumed that members or workers are highly motivated and can be trusted to contribute to the organisation's objectives if given the opportunity to participate in organisational decision making. Participative managers consult with and involve employees at all levels of the organisation in organisational problem solving and decision making. One aim is to accommodate the physical and social needs of workers/members. There is still debate over the feasibility, wisdom and even the legal consequences of involving workers in organisational decision making.

Paternalism does not depend on exploitation of workers/members and can stimulate cultural and educational programs, even community constructions.

Laissez-faire leadership: in it, enlightened self-interest dominates. However, individual members or workers function as isolated individuals.

There is also management through bureaucracy of fixed rules governing the organisation.

SRF maternalism at play

A little look at how Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) is organised, shows it has paternalism at its core (maternalism is found too), and there is monastic-bureaucratic managing of members: There is at best only secondary participative management when it comes to dispensing kriya yoga methods, regulating the amount of kriyas to be performed by each member. The core control is paternalistic. SRF has a long way to go before it fulfils all the possibilities of a paternalistic web, though.

Lately SRF has been labeled a cult by some Christian organisations and also by several ex-monastics of SRF who participated on the now defunct SRF Walrus discussion board. It was set up by a former SRF monastic after one third of the SRF monastics left the fellowship's premises around 2002, in part with great problems for leaving, problems that they shared among each other and commented on with persecutional fears surfacing now and then. A backup site of the SRF Walrus still exists. [SRF Walrus Backup into 2006]


Merriam-Webster says the Latin roots of 'cult' involve "care, adoration, cultivate". A cult is generally understood and detected by:

  • formal religious veneration, worship;
  • a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also its body of adherents;
  • a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also its body of adherents;
  • a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator;
  • (a) great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book), and especially such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad. (b) usually a small group of people marked by such devotion.

The sociologist Thomas Robbins divides cults into:

  1. cults as dangerous, authoritarian groups;
  2. cults as culturally innovative or transcultural groups;
  3. cults as loosely structured protoreligions;
  4. Also, one may distinguish among "audience cults" (members seek to receive information, e.g., through a lecture or tape series) "client cults" (members seek some specific benefit, e.g., psychotherapy, spiritual guidance) and "cult movements" (organisations that demand a high level of commitment from members). It would appear that cult membership increases as church membership decreases. (Robbins 1988)

Sociologists often distinguish "cult" from "church," "sect," and "denomination." Cults are fervent groups. If they become accepted into the mainstream, cults, in his view, lose their fervour and become more organised and integrated into the community; they become churches. When people within churches become dissatisfied and break off into fervent splinter groups, the new groups are called sects, but definitions vary. As sects become more stolid and integrated into the community, they become denominations.

Benjamin Zablocki defines a cult as "an ideological organization held together by charismatic relationships and demanding total commitment." He says cults are at high risk of becoming abusive to members under charismatic leaders by contributing to the leaders becoming corrupted by the power they seek and are allotted.

Cult definitions tend to emphasise elements of authoritarian structure, deception and manipulation. A totalist type of cult can be understood as "a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.). Means are designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders, to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.

The term "cult" really refers to a continuum: there is a large grey area that separates "cult" from "noncult." And one may add qualifiers to the term "cult," such as "destructive." Further, it can be presumed that different people will respond differently to the same group environment, and besides, cults are not all alike. Nor are all cult members affected in the same way, even within the same group. However, some groups harm some members sometimes and some groups may be more likely to harm members than other groups.

It is vital that each cult be evaluated individually with regard to the group environment and the person(s) interacting within and with that environment. At present there are no straightforward scientific "tests" to establish whether or not a group is indeed a "cult." However, there are useful and promising tools for assessing groups, such as ICSA's Group Psychological Abuse Scale, which is based on self-report.

As for groups studied, inquirers need to make informed judgments and decisions based on the group's potentially harmful practices. ICSA says: "These are practices that have been associated with harmful effects in some people. To what, if any extent, are these practices found in the group in question? And how might you or your loved one be affected by these practices?"

It is needed to base an approach on good evidence and careful analyses of structure and behaviour within a specific context. Further, appearances can deceive, especially in cults. Data must be subject to reevaluation, and terms, like "cult", must at least points us in a meaningful direction. It is fit to strive to use it judiciously.

[Source: Herbert L. Rosedale and Michael D. Langone. On Using the Term "Cult" ICSA. Nd. On-line. [◦Link]

You don't have to be stupid to link up to a cult. It is how you do it that is the crucial thing. Maybe some get hoodwinked by play on belongingness. Anyway, one may handle main cult factors by training and getting aware of what is at play in the field of the mind and in the open.

It could pay to check or probe in advance into how much control leaders have and whether they regularly cheat.

Pompous Leaders May Bring Benefits and Complications

You can watch your steps, as bad cults have some hallmarks. Here are some of them:

  • Strong leader dominance.
  • Bad social network most often.
  • Up to notorious isolation from family and relatives, if it serves pompous, arrogant, cliché-ridden or grave leadership with control and many complications for tender hearts and minds and nerves.
Leader-dominated people could benefit from sound and clear thinking instead of fervent silliness.

You could thrive better and accomplish things on your own, eventually.

Silly initial networks may breed pompous leaders.

Don't expect a hard-hearted cult to be honest and unbiased about all their central issues, if getting members to profit from, matters. It usually does. You have to calculate well. So as not to get outsmarted, watch out for:

  1. Unsound conformity striving.
  2. Persuasion or framing.
  3. Great obedience to the leader and following quite arbitrary rules and regulations.
  4. Insincere argumentation of recruiting.
  5. Emotional manipulation, play on unfulfilled instincts, or neuroses.
  6. Consistent efforts to block quitting.
  7. High exit costs include phobias of harm, failure and personal isolation.
  8. Cult mind control is often of great intensity, persistence, duration and scope.
  9. Among serious dangers are deception, mindless devotion and failure to deliver on the recruiting promises.
  10. Bad cults create total dependence on the group for self identity, recognition, social reinforcement.


To handle leaders fairly well or better, find out what type of leaders they most likely are, allowing some leeway and overlapping between categories like "authoritarian, patnalistic/maternalistic, laissez-faire, participative-minded and so on. Further, Dr Muriel James has written a book called The OK Boss, which may help identifying various leader styles you are dealing with and serve by your adaptations. There may be nothing you can do to change things if the "profit" and balance sheets look good and you are just a single one in the "machinery", if machinery it is. [Pregnant Bossing]

Vanity is not a good sign except for speculative ones who profit from it by selling not really helpful expensive articles; beauty "gifts"; "currycombed" hairstyles, odd or otherwise; breast implants and so on. And vanity is not good for the soul. Better be modest to one's profit.

Now, inflated leader figures may not offer more substantial help than weather balloons.

Cult movements are on a continuum between harmful and helpful all over. It depends in part on how destructive the large society and/or one's conditions have become, and how well its "flie-traps" work. There are some who do not manage to leave the many forms of "glue" after what has been impressed on them for a long time.

In the articles of incorporation for the SRF church, there is much on getting lands, properties, and give nothing of it to lay members. And yet, some try to become millionaires and show off themselves, rather than letting sects and others get their valuables. Gine Mollicone-Long teaches:

Once you have really captured the energy of "BEING" a millionaire, you must embody that energy. Make it a part of you. You do this by relating your feelings to your thoughts. Then, . . . come back to the present. You have the "BEING a millionaire" energy with you and you can take it with you wherever you go. Then, . . . the Law of Attraction is in full motion and it will only be a matter of time before your physical reality matches your energetic reality [after you have been] maintaining a strong vibrational match to what you want. You would be better to focus your efforts on sustaining the positive energy in order to speed up the process of attraction. (2007:54)

"I hope you dance!" writes Gine Mollicone-Long too. "I hope you dance well!" seems much better, though (2007:xix). So, can we dance with the drives in the middle of cults and maintain ourselves too?


Cult detection, probing cultish dealings, sect basics, sectarians at a glance, Self-Realization Fellowship, Literature  

Avery, Matt. Be Your Own Boss. London: Hodder Education, 2010.

Carnall, Colin. Managing Change in Organizations. 5th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2007.

Caunt, John. Boost Your Self-Esteem. London: Kogan Page, 2003.

James, Muriel. The OK Boss. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1975.

Jay, Ros. How to Manage Your Boss: Developing the Perfect Working Relationship. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2002.

Leech, Corinne. Managing Time: Learning Made Simple. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007.

Mollicone-Long, Gina. The Secret of Successful Failing: Hidden Inside Every Failure Is Exactly What You Need to Get What You Want.. Toronto: Pathfinder Publishing, 2007. -- Hardly.

Mullins, Laurie J. Management and Organisational Behaviour. 9th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2010.

Nelson, Beth, ed. Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses. College Park, MD: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, 2008.

Robbins, T. "Cults, converts, and charisma" (London: Sage, 1988), in Herbert L. Rosedale and Michael D. Langone. On Using the Term "Cult". Internet article. Isca. Nd. On-line. [◦Link]

Cult detection, probing cultish dealings, sect basics, sectarians at a glance, Self-Realization Fellowship, To top Section Set Next

Cult detection, probing cultish dealings, sect basics, sectarians at a glance, Self-Realization Fellowship. USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
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