DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on October 25, 2017


As a 9th grader, I was involved in a confrontation, and at that moment I was about the lead with a right hook, a teacher came around the corner. Now, I was a student at the school where my father taught, so I chose to exit. Forward three years, I was a model for my best friend to help her pass her cosmetology exam. This same person I had a confrontation with was there. Now mind you, I didn’t get to swing! That haunted me for years. Here was my opportunity. My best friend whisper in my ear, please don’t mess this up for me. Well, she came towards where I was sitting in the chair and …

Hirschman speaks on the ways people choose to respond in troubling, dissatisfying, argumentative, life-threatening situations on their jobs, personal lives, and even politics. He points out that there are two types of responses: exit or voice. Exit being one leaving the situation without an opportunity to change things. Voice is standing up and expressing oneself about their dissatisfaction in hopes of making a change. Hirschman was an advocate of exit in a life-threatening experience because of where he lived. He was a refugee from the Germany Democratic Republic during the time of the Great Wall. “Writing in the immediate aftermath of these events, and noting the strong complementary role played by exit and voice in their unfolding, Hirschman (1993: 202) wondered how it could be that ‘exit and voice now worked hand in glove after having undermined each other for four decades.” [1]

Employees exiting job situations can be costly for the company. Many companies have sought to use exit surveys which give voice to those leaving and assist the company in determining whether they need to make changes in the workplace. Employees who voice their concerns sometimes change things or are considered troublemakers. Hirschman states that those who voice their concerns are exercising loyalty. Loyalty is when one uses their voice to make a change in the company for all. Those who have exercised their voice on concerns contributed to the creation of the whistleblower law which protects those who share personal and private information regarding illegal situations within a company.

This model is not just for employees but in the political world. Many politicians exit or voice their displeasure with the law, policy, administration and other political events. Britain was one that exercised the exit strategy now referred to as Brexit. Politicians are exiting their White House administrative and Senate positions in America due to unpleasant circumstances. Many are voicing their reasons for leaving. Is that considered loyalty? Will their voice make a difference?  If advocates had sealed their voices, maybe women would still not have the right to vote, no civil rights, no right to the LGBTQ, labor laws, and many other legal changes.

It also applies to consumers. It affects the demand and supply for retailers. Many companies have customer service departments to address their customers’ concerns. Some customers who are not happy with their service or purchase make a conscious decision to no return there again. This exit method may keep money in their pockets, but it does not help others who may be considering whether to patronize the company or not. To cover all bases, maybe we should voice our concerns then exit.

…Well to continue my story, I chose loyalty. I did not exit nor did I swing but I held a conversation with the young lady. She didn’t even remember the incident.

[1] Scott Gehlbach, A Formal Model of Exit and Voice,  accessed 10/25/2017, 406-7

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

7 responses to “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!”

  1. Jim Sabella says:

    What a great story Lynda! You make a very valid point. Voice is so important to our culture and also the way we operate our democratic process. We are living in one of the most contentious times politically that I can remember. I pray with you, for sane voices on all sides. Thanks for a compelling post–had to jump quickly to the end to hear the rest of the story!

  2. mm Jennifer Dean-Hill says:

    Bravo Lynda! You chose loyalty. No surprise there.
    Great value to live by: “To cover all bases, maybe we should voice our concerns then exit.” But what happens when your voice is not valued because you are the minority? Do you remain loyal, yell louder, or exit?

    • Lynda Gittens says:

      Jen as a minority using one’s voice, it has to be done in the spirit of God because it prevents us from yelling and swinging. If you are yelling no one listens. Jesus has that spirit of calmness and peace.

  3. Christal Jenkins Tanks says:

    Lynda one has to wonder what would have happened if you would have fought her back. Your chose of loyalty was really God saving her life for sure LOL! I do believe voice is so important but there are times when even the most loyal can also become the most suppressed. Organization that suppress voice only give the most loyal member the option to exit. In our society we know that as minorities our voices remain suppressed. Exiting our own country is not an option and so what do we do? I believe we continue to seek out the appropriate answers to this questions.

  4. Mary Walker says:

    Is taking a punch considered a third way?
    I confess to feeling that way sometimes; I think if we’re honest we all do.
    You ask, “Many are voicing their reasons for leaving. Is that considered loyalty?”
    It’s interesting that just the other day another political leader quit out of protest against Trump’s policies.
    I wonder if the answer is “loyal” if you really care about your country? “Loyal” to what is maybe the focus we should have. Loyal to your party or loyal to your country?

  5. Lynda – I always knew better than to mess with you and now I know why :0
    You said: ‘Many are voicing their reasons for leaving. Is that considered loyalty? Will their voice make a difference? If advocates had sealed their voices, maybe women would still not have the right to vote, no civil rights, no right to the LGBTQ, labor laws, and many other legal changes.’
    This brings up an important issue with ‘loyalty’ to me…. In the real world we are rarely ever in the situation where we only have loyalty to one thing. There are almost always ‘competing loyalties’. The quote above is illustrative of just that situation [Jeff Flake, one of the Senators that isn’t seeking re-election explicitly mentions loyalty to a higher principle the the GOP during his speech explaining his decision.
    As Christians, the question of competing loyalties is a simple one in theory, but a complicated one in practice. God demands singular loyalty from us – we are commanded to put God first in every area of our lives. Simple enough, but in practice we all know that those other, lesser, loyalties put up quite stiff competition and it is easy to become conflicted and confused.

    Thanks again for highlighting loyalty and for the great story!

  6. mm Katy Drage Lines says:

    I was on pins and needles wondering if you swung at the girl!
    “To cover all bases, maybe we should voice our concerns then exit.” That seems like what consumers do via social media now. When a company is large enough not to deal directly with customers, public shaming (via Twitter, etc.) often gets things done– I once publicly complained about service from American Airlines and they bandaged the situation with air miles. Made it look like they listen, without actually changing their practices.

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