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Channeling Dissent: Lessons from Organizational Dynamics in Curaçao

Channeling Dissent: Lessons from Organizational Dynamics in Curaçao


March 7, 2024


It's often said that organizations reflect the society from which they emerge. While there are distinctions between government and organizational structures, there are undeniable similarities. Observing how organizations function can offer valuable insights into the broader societal landscape.

Recently, two organizations in Curaçao have captured my attention, shedding light on the challenges of managing dissent within their ranks.

The first organization is the local football association, the FFK. They appointed a new, young chairman about a year ago—a refreshing change after years of old school. The new chairman brought many innovative ideas, but his tenure was short-lived. He dared to challenge the status quo, exposing flaws in governance practices. Unfortunately, his outspokenness led to internal dissonance, ultimately resulting in his resignation. Now, the state of football in Curaçao is arguably worse off than when he took office.

The second organization that piqued my interest is the Chamber of Commerce of Curaçao. After a decade, they elected a new chairman, who is also a relatively young individual. During a meeting for members, which I discovered through newspaper reports as I was not invited, the new chairman made a significant declaration: the focus was shifting from mere economic growth to sustainable growth of the island. He emphasized the need to rethink strategies for developing the tourism sector, which remains the island's primary economic driver.

This shift in perspective is particularly noteworthy because it aligns with views I, and likely others, have advocated for years. However, it's a blunt departure from the stance previously taken by the Chamber of Commerce and other influential bodies like VBC, which often criticized such proposals.

What these instances highlight is the challenge of effectively managing dissent within organizations. In both cases, individuals who dared to challenge the status quo faced resistance and ultimately found themselves marginalized or ousted from their positions. This raises questions about the extent to which organizations are willing to embrace change and diverse viewpoints.

The ability to channel dissent constructively is crucial for organizational growth and adaptation. It requires fostering an environment where differing opinions are tolerated and actively encouraged. It also demands strong leadership capable of navigating conflicting perspectives and steering the organization toward a common purpose.

As we await the next developments within these organizations, it's clear that how they handle dissent will ultimately shape their future trajectory. And perhaps, by closely observing these dynamics, we can gather valuable lessons for fostering a more inclusive and resilient society in Curaçao.

Miguel Goede

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