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July 13, 2017



This is a really important point, and the trend is every bit as damaging in business as in government. Mass management of any kind is predicated on the myth that people will behave in certain predictable ways, when all the evidence points to the opposite.

Just one tiny nitpick, though. Marxists also have a weakness for abstract theory over messy reality. True, they're not as dangerous as managerialists at the moment, but that's not necessarily for want of trying.

Not knocking Marxism, just sayin...




I think this is largely an Anglo-Saxon affectation: the hero leader in his or her ivory tower, distant from the workers, customers and suppliers. In Asia there's a strong culture, exemplified by the Japanese term Gemba ('the place where things happen') of managers spending time at the metaphorical coalface. The insights that can be achieved by this approach are beyond value.

derrida derider

A good post.

If you haven't already you should put it into your day job's publication. It translates to good advice for investors trying to judge which of their shares are likely to do well (ie they should look for companies that practice at every level what used to be called 'management by walking around').

Asher Dresner

I'd say the same about the Taylor Review.

So many of its recommendations were about legal changes, or changes to tribunals, and so on. Useful, but the abstraction of the law misses the ground truth: it is patchily enforced, millions who need the law's protection don't know when it's being broken to report it, wouldn't know how to report it if they knew what it was, or - as you said in your post Chris - don't feel they have the power to report it even they know they're being treated illegally.

Arthur Murray

I vaguely recall something from years ago that Bulmer's cider (Ithink) required its directors to spend one day a month riding in the lorry delivering the cider to their wholesale customers.


"Nobody from head office liked visiting Acton. They hated the factory with its peeling cream and green frontage, halfway between an Odeon Cinema and an East German bus station. It reminded them that the firm didn’t only make plans and decisions, but also jellies and creamed rice. It reminded them that it owned a small fleet of bright red lorries with ‘Try Sunshine Flans – they’re flantastic’ painted in yellow letters on both sides"


«Blair’s war in Iraq wasn’t so much a moral failure as an intellectual one; he failed to learn not just the messy truth about Iraq but also the vast evidence on cognitive biases.»

What?????????????? If anything the opposite:

* It was an intellectual success, in the sense that support of/complicity in the USA's foreign and military policy is the price pay to have the USA's "protection", and since Attlee and Churchill made that choice, that is part of the national consensus.

* Arguably is was a moral failure, because to successfully buy the USA's protection by support of/complicity in their activities has made the UK participate in a probably unnecessary and quite cruel war on another country.

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