the myth of management

the myth of management - The Myth of Management The myth of...

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The Myth of Management The myth of management is one of the preeminent myths of the modern era. Certainly it is the one we hear about the most. It is used to justify why the boss's son got your promotion, why I have to work overtime, why nuclear power is really safe. Always, management knows best. There was once an earlier myth, the myth of the gentleman. An excuse for snobbery no doubt, there still may have been some reality to it. For example, during the reign of Elizabeth I members of the aristocracy had duties as well as privileges and were held up to a stricter standard of accountability (at least in theory) than the poor. The rewards were disproportionate, but no one doubted that the rich had their duties. As kings abused their power, freedom for the people was assured by removing from the government and the courts the power to demand accountability from either the rich or the poor. Even governments who claimed they did not favor the rich against the poor did nothing to protect the poor from the rich. So the poor were told there no longer existed the one right they had always had (even though not easily enforced); that is, the right to fair and reasonable treatment, as opposed to the anarchy of "whatever the market can bear." Nowadays too many managers believe administration somehow has nothing to do with fairness. For them, administration has to do with pushing out more work in less time. It has to do with division of labor, span of control, and chain of command. Well, nobody denies this. What is odd about such modern management is that it claims no responsibility for almost anything except for increases in productivity, which in reality tend to come more from technological advances than anything else. When these advances are not forthcoming, too many managers refuse to admit that increases in productivity do not come annually, no matter how good it would look to their superiors. So they discover a right to make workers work harder. Thus, for them, work standards have nothing to do with reasonableness. Given that work standards are nothing more than pushing out as much work as possible, "scientific management" does judge people not by what a fair day's work would be for the average worker, but by what it would be for a fast worker. So the whole idea of reasonableness goes out the window with scientific management. We take it so much for granted, it is almost not worth mentioning that work has been turned into a totally unnatural experience. Since people are not allowed to have peaks and valleys of production, there are no natural rhythms of life during working hours. We forget that it has been known at times in history for people to work at a pace that is natural to them. Even more so than the earlier gentlemen, a manager can be called a master, for what does
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2012 for the course MGMT 3680 taught by Professor Harrywater during the Winter '12 term at CSU East Bay.

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the myth of management - The Myth of Management The myth of...

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