Business World

“Formality” or “Informality”?

23 December 2015

As the original texts are written in Turkish, English translation is provided for non-Turkish readers. The author apologizes in advance for any and all possible changes and losses in meaning due to translation.

I guess the form of addressing others was not a problem in the past. There were already the usual titles used within the family. In the business world, within the framework of the general courtesy rules adopted at that time, the individuals mostly addressed each other formally regardless of the hierarchical structure. Over time, the rules were bent and informality stepped in.
This caused a dilemma. Executives who are senior in terms of age or hierarchy often address their subordinates informally. However, it is not so common for subordinates to address their superiors in the same way. Of course, especially in global companies, the forms of addressing have increasingly become less rigid, but informal addressing of subordinates to their superiors does not seem to become widespread.

When I ask the professionals around me about this addressing issue that is exercised particularly from superiors to subordinates, I received replies such as “to create a friendly atmosphere”. Is this the real reason or do we actually mean “know your place”? In other words, as executives, do we not consider younger people or our colleagues at different levels in the hierarchy to be at our level?

We all say that we believe in young people and diversity, and we always motivate and support our human resources. But during this process, do we give them another message through our forms of addressing?

What do you think about this issue?

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