Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Helping Week 3 Reflection (1/28/2017)

Top-Down and Bottom-Up are both phrases that can be used to describe many different subjects. Businesses, economies, governments, physics, just to name a few. Top-Down is essentially where someone much higher up than the rest, whether it be the business owner or country ruler, generally makes all of the executive decisions and that choice will slowly make its way down to the lower levels until all of the changes have been implemented.

Bottom-Up means that the lower levels are involved in making the changes happen. Essentially, the changes start with them.

To me, Top-Down is really nice, in theory, but what has been seen in practice leaves a lot to be desired An entity that functions in the manner of Top-Down would kind of work its way down to the masses. In some aspects of our government, that is how it is supposed to be. Same with quite a lot of bigger companies. Unfortunately, though, greed has very much become a big player, resulting in a large portion of corruption. Which is how things end up benefiting a select few all the way at the top, and practically none at the bottom. It is supposed to help the middle class, but the class structure has become so warped that there are significant gaps separating the classes. To top it off, the middle class is practically dissolved.

Bottom-Up basically works its way from the ground upwards to the top. Working with those at the lower levels so that they know their thoughts matter. In the book I am reading (Think Like A Futurist), the example used for this comes down to a cellphone. A man named Iqbal Quadir wanted to improve the lives of many. He came up with a concept and was able to get two companies involved. Through that work, he was able to setup service and provide cellphones to the poor communities within Bangladesh. By doing so, individuals and communities throughout the country have been able to improve their lives and businesses, thus boosting the economy of Bangladesh.

Personally, I feel that either of these can be great if implemented correctly. Having both working together to better a country seems like the most ideal establishment for the government. To me, our country has very much become a corrupt version of the Top-Down system. We say that we wish and plan to help the middle and lower classes in every promise made. Unfortunately, this has not been the case, recently. Slowly, but surely, there is less and less coming down from the top to benefit anything for the lower level portions of this country. The Bottom-Up aspect can also be seen in this country on a very small level. One of the biggest things when it comes to the Bottom-Up process working, is the necessity of money. Money is very much a big player for this system to even work, which ends up having to come from people we know, loans, or some other method. There are a lot of great ideas and programs enacted to help communities out by really great individuals, such as Iqbal Quadir. The problem that I see happening is being able to make a big enough change to break through barriers and make improvements to the world around us. The reason I see Bottom-Up as a part of our government, too, is because the way our society is technically supposed to be, is that the little guys (us) have a say in the changes being made. That is why we have the rights to vote, speak our minds, and have a courts system setup. To make our voices heard to the ones leading our country towards, what we hope, is the future and not the past. But at this point I feel that aspect of our government is also broken. Supposedly our voices are being heard, but only so that the higher-ups can stay in charge. After that, they will make the changes they have wanted to make all along that will benefit them the most.

What are your thoughts?



Duverge, Gabe. “Top-Down vs Bottom-Up Mangement Styles.” Touro University World Wide. Touro University Worldwide, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.

Sommers, Cecily. Think like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s next. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.

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3 thoughts on “Helping Week 3 Reflection (1/28/2017)

  1. I liked the way you laid out top-down vs. bottom-up. In the projects I have been involved with, there is a time and place for both.

    Frequently in application development you don’t know exactly what the end product will look like. You have a general idea, so you throw it out to your programmers and turn them loose on it. They take a stab at it and whatever they come back with is critiqued by customers and management. That iterative process repeats itself and eventually you wind up with something you’re happy with.

    In other situations, top-down is the only way to success. There can be a political element to this as you mention, and too often it comes in the form of territorialism. If it isn’t in the self-interest of two groups in the same organization to work together, they probably won’t. That sort of friction is latent throughout any organization of size, but if you’re ever tasked with doing something about it, top-down is frequently what it winds up taking. Sometimes negotiating works; sometimes it doesn’t in my experience.

  2. Chelsea,
    This is one of those topics that many could argue until they are blue in the face. In actuality many have argued the pro’s and con’s of both top-down and bottom-up. Having worked in four different industries I have yet to see either work effectively without the other. In a perfect world you are right both should work but unfortunately in a society that thrives on every man for himself it doesn’t.

    Top-downers seem to always have a disconnect as to what’s really going on at the entry level to middle management sectors which in turn creates disdain for upper management. In one of my previous employers they operated on top-down do as you are told and we will handle the fall out later. This system NEVER worked but to my knowledge they still use it and continue to have a very high turnover rate.

    Bottom-up has always made sense to me but I have only worked in one organization that actually put it into practice. They didn’t just rely on employee’s but also customers to make sure that they were leading the company in the right direction. They heavily relied on feedback in making changes and implementing new product offerings but have some top-down elements as well. Even though I changed employment I still do business with them today. I probably will be a lifer actually because I love the way the do business .

    1. Tosh,
      There can definitely be upsides and downsides to both methods, unfortunately one of the most common traits of our current society is every man for himself. There are some really great people in the world that are trying to make the world a better place by helping others through their work/businesses. The biggest issue is that, in the vast majority of places, the ones in charge could not care less about those closer to the bottom that, essentially, are the cogs that run the clock, so to speak. There is one country that I can think of that is a really good example of the opposite. The President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, apparently donates about 90% of what he makes each month to help the poor and the small business owners throughout the country.

      Based on what you described from one of your experiences with top-down, it made me think of this company my boyfriend used to work for. It was recently bought out by a larger company/corporation. Not long after the buyout, the new owners held a meeting for everyone working for the smaller company to attend to get the rundown on what would be changing, etc. At the meeting they told the employees to do their jobs and to get things done in a timely manner, then let the lawyers handle the rest if anything were to go wrong. I feel that is, unfortunately, how a lot of larger companies function nowadays. That is part of the reason as to why my boyfriend no longer works there, that mentality just did not sit well with him.

      Bottom-up appeals to me the most and I feel is a great thing. What you described sounds absolutely amazing and I wish more businesses would function in that manner more so.

      Thank you for sharing some of your experiences!

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