Pulling the Levers – The Management Illusion

A common thread of mine is that the formally managed aspects of business life often represent the 80% with only 20% of the value, and often there is a very important hidden element which actualy represents most of the real value. (I say something to that effect in the manifesto.) In Dr Willis on-line book the Paradox of Progress, he laments the fact that management are in fact completely unaware of the value and success of semi-autonomous distributed “community” workers, and that this becomes obvious when technology enables more centralised control to stifle the essential autonomy. [Quote] It would be nice to think that community staff enjoy this freedom because those in authority realise its value. But it is clear that this is not the case. The new era of computer technology is demonstrating that this freedom and richness has not arisen by design, but by default. It is no wise insight that has recognized its ultimate necessity and value. It is simply that nobody has managed to find a way of extending the reach of central control out into the wilderness. – Until now. [Unquote]

I think I said in the introduction to my dissertation all those (12?) years ago “There is a perception that Information Technology, which pervades our operation and our deliverables, far from increasing flexibility, creates new constraints”. Nothing new under the sun.

The rest of Chapter 4 is a litany of examples of the political correctness of rationally jutifiable things we ought to do, and the tacit understanding that anyone who actually did try to do would be considered insane. Do as I do, not as I say, in action. [Quote] THE UNSPOKEN AGREEMENT TO PRETEND TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE – We have a double standard here which is going to get worse as society gets more and more tightly organised [electronically integrated ? – I’d say] unless we find a way of giving the corporate mind of society the equivalent of common sense.[Unquote]

Almost finished this book on-line now and it is an excellent read, peppered with little anecdotal gems from a GP’s life, bags of common sense, plenty of black wit and, for me, a finger right on the pulse of how the lie of logical positivism is going to find its come-uppance in the world of mass ICT (or gawd ‘elp us.)

[Quote] It is already quite obvious from a personal perspective that technology and rules are a poor substitute for common sense. The question remains how long it will be before this becomes obvious from the media scale perspective as well, and how far things will have deteriorated by then.[Unquote] The real trouble is [Quote] GENERALISTS MUST LIE – Yes. Generalists must lie. Controlled lying, or slippage, is the only means we have of coping with the complexity and the uncertainty of life. The slippage which our minds permit, the subtle distortion of the literal reality of the world, is not a failing but a necessary strength.[Unquote]

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