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April 30, 2022

Doing management the wrong way

In the UK, the supposed panacea of good management has proved to be a chimera. The country has been training managers in the discipline of managing for decades, but very little good has come of it.

If one looks at the public and private sector one sees more bureaucracy, greater intensification of work in which fewer people have to cope with downsized operations to deliver greater shareholder value, while the public sector is not improving in spite of huge cash injections and the UK falls behind Germany, the US and France in productivity.

According to the National Audit Office, the public sector in the UK spent £7 billion on consultancy in the past three years to little effect.

Management itself has become the problem. The reason for the failure is complex. In a nutshell, it is because the UK has been following the wrong way of doing things and constantly trying to get it right. But as the systems and management theorist Russell Ackoff said: "The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. When we make a mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter. Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right."

The wrong thing managers have been doing is central planning, a command-and-control management model reminiscent of the Soviet Union. On top of this essential wrongness are a host of service companies and consultancies from IT to PR who reinforce the model with their own additions and refinements.

Doing management the wrong way

Posted by ACASA on April 30, 2022 at 09:48 PM in blog post | Permalink

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