Paʻa ka Waha…Mai i Loko Mai

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Observe, be silent and learn… for that which is within matters most

Leina‘ala Ahu Isa, Ph.D., Trustee, At-Large

Welina me ke aloha!

Who is in charge?

In corporations and the military, there is a clear answer.

But in an environment where decisions about resources – such as legacy lands, beneficiaries’ trust funds, procurement, prices, and personnel are made every single day and show up in the bottom line – there needs to be a position where the ultimate accountability and blame rests.

In my continuation of the topic of power, I will discuss: 1) the CEO position and; 2) Max Weber, a prestigious German scholar in the 1920s.

The CEO

The title of CEO (chief executive officer) suggests leadership, disciplinary function, and orderliness. But power in these positions is slowly diminishing – and harder to hold onto when you get it.

As Naim states in his book (The End of Power by Moises Naim, ch. 8, 2013), this is not anecdotal. Statistical evidence shows that CEO jobs are becoming more and more tenuous. In 1992, a CEO had a 36% chance of holding on to their job for five years. But a 2009 study found that 15% of CEO positions turned over each year. “Things have grown more and more slippery where the buck stops.”

Max Weber: a prestigious scholar of economics, history, culture, religion and more

Enter Max Weber in 1922 with his book, Economy and Society.

He believed that the key to wielding power was a ‘bureaucratic’ organization. Germany was at the forefront of creating Europe’s modern civil service society. Such an organization relied heavily on written communications and documents, and the training of personnel according to each job’s requirements and skills.

Weber also stressed the basic applications of consistent and comprehensive rules for everyone regardless of family, religious or political connections. “Therefore, recruitment responsibilities and promotions were based on competence and experience…and not as in the past, on the basis of family connections or personal relationships,” he writes in The End of Power. (ch. 3 p.40)

Weber became famous for his public advocacy for the German agricultural workers being displaced by foreign migrants. “He argued that the large German estates should be broken up into plots that could be given to workers to encourage them to stay in the area and the opportunity to own their own pieces of land.” (ch. 3, p. 41).

Today, we witness parallel revolutions here as with HB499 (99-year lease bill). I quote attorney Sandra Ann K. Pratt-Aquino’s email message to the Board of Trustees dated May 19, 2021:

“I write to you to request OHA’s attendance at a meeting with Governor Ige on May 19, 2021, at 2:30 pm via zoom. Several community stakeholders will be engaging with the Gov. to request that he veto HB499. I was surprised to hear that OHA was NOT a part of this meeting. This bill directly impacts the agency’s funding…Our community is already vulnerable due to the pandemic. Now, we need OHA more than ever to be that front-line advocate for our people…”

E mālama pono, Ke Akua pū, a hui hou, Trustee Leinaʻala Ahu Isa