In this article “Management, the flaws in managerial thinking” I wanted to go over aspects of team management i have been confronted to in my professional life.
The author Jean François Dupuis in his book “the flaws of managerial thinking“, shows the causes and effects of management. He describes the mechanisms that weaken brain power, and their serious consequences on corporations.
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What is management ?
There are many definitions of management. I would say that management is the”art of leading someone in the accomplishment of work destined to contribute to the fulfilment of goals set by the organization“.
Under involvement and intellectual idleness
Under involvement at work is defined by a wish from the employee to work as little as possible, or when there is no other choice it implies minimizing the involvement time.
In short this means minimizing the effort. The company may ask itself what it offer its employees and understand that involvement at work comes in competition with involvement in other aspects of daily life.
Indeed, involvement and initiativefrom an employee are fostered when an employee feels comfortable at work.
Intellectual idleness is different mechanism, which may appear outside of work. Let’s take an example: it often happens that 2 or 3 people assert or share their opinion.
When it is repeated it becomes viral, and soon enough it becomes a shared opinion inside the group.
By trusting the people who manifest this opinion and believing that they have done their research on the topic, we show intellectual idleness or gullibility.
The distinction between structure and organization
Structure refers to basic knowledge whereas organization refers to deep knowledge.
- Structure is characterized by the process, theoretical and practical knowledge, etc.
- Deep knowledge refers to a consensual social reality. They are the behaviour.
Therefore, a company is concerned with the organization than the structure. For example, if a company is faced with a decline in productivity caused by a decline in employee involvement, the company may want to change the structure by applying a frame of reference like a checklist for a list of tasks.
This is how the situation can worsen with the implementation of coercive methods created to attain mostly unachievable goals. So how would one proceed ?
To meet this challenge, you need some common sense. The first thing is to understand what is instead on focusing on what should be.
What lets you gain distance from yourself, from your own biases, from the immediacy, what lets you gain perpective, is general knowledge
Are company values akin to propaganda?
Just like in politics, discourses based on values is common in the corporate world. It is the human ressources department, and sometimes the communications department, that create and spread these values.
Often, you can learn about these values simply by visiting company websites. Just like in a business model, they can be part of the value proposition. People often put values and culture in the same bag.
Indeed, the latter is focused on financial aspects and company results. In his book, Jean-François Depuis mentions that the values used most often by companies are innovation, team spirit, integrity and respect.
Most companies have explicit company values which include notions defining a strong and positive culture.
They are often outlined in mission statements, slogans, and marketing projects promoting the brand.
The issue is that most of these so-called values are far from being actual values. They are merely a compilation of platitudes ans mottos
It is important to understand that the overuse by a company of these nonfactual values leads employees to lose interest. They will see it as a from propaganda, or even as manipulation, which goes against their conscience, ask their individual freedom.
The lack of trust
In conclusion, we have seen that when management tries to use coercive methods, it fails, just like we can see in Taylorism, when there isan increase in tools of control and indicators.
The kind of disinvolvementand are bolstered by the degradation of employment and the economy.
The lack of trust in the economy because of the economic crises, which seems to never end, challenges protective working conditions and advantages linked to having a salaried position. When they exist, the employees respond with commitment and loyalty to the employer.
Challenging employee protection led to the erosion of commitment
According to Alain Peyrefitte, trust fosters innovation, mobility, and initiative
In his book, Jean François Dupuis, cites an example which illustrates the fact that the absence of rules does not necessarily prevent discipline and responsability.
The European driver is always surprised when he/she arrives at a crossing with 4 stop signs instead of a red light. He/she needs a moment to understand that all cars do need to “stop”, each driver going through in the order he/she arrived in.
We understand that such a practice requires not only discipline but also trust: if there was no trust, only the most daring of the group would impose himself/herself, and the system’s limits would show.
But it turns out that everyone wilingly follows the rules of this novel solution, and if a driver tries to bypass the rules and to impose himself/herself, he/she seriously risks causing an accident, for which he/she will indubitably be held responsible.
To go further…
Jean-François Dupuis In : La Faillite de la pensée managériale. Lost in management, vol. 2 [Online] Paper book format available in French on : < https://amzn.to/3hjEumu >