Monday, September 28, 2015

What gets measured gets managed

I sometimes hear this is the first axiom of management.
It features at the end of an interesting article in The Economist, Digital Taylorism: A modern version of “scientific management” threatens to dehumanise the workplace

The article is stimulated by a recent controversial New York Times article that chronicled the way that treats their employees.

Just a few quotes to stimulate you to look at the Economist article
The reaction to the Times piece shows that digital Taylorism is just as unpopular as its stopwatch-based predecessor. Critics make some powerful points. “Gobbetising” knowledge jobs limits a worker’s ability to use his expertise creatively, they argue. Measuring everything robs jobs of their pleasure. Pushing people to their limits institutionalises “burn and churn”. Constant peer-reviews encourage back-stabbing. Indeed, some firms that graded their staff, including Microsoft, General Electric and Accenture, concluded that it is counter-productive, and dropped it.
Mr Pentland’s sociometric badges have produced some counter-intuitive results: for example, in a study of 80 employees in a Bank of America call centre, he found that the most successful teams were the ones that spent more time doing what their managers presumably didn’t want them to do: chatting with each other.
I wonder how this relates to universities.
Is it fair to say that “good” universities are a long way from Amazon?
Or is metric madness coupled with managerialism taking over?

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