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A Succession Of Funerals

Science advances one funeral at a time. – Max (walk the freakin’) Planck

As implied by the quote above, new and more effective ideas/techniques/practices/methods take hold only when the old guard, which fiercely defends the status quo regardless of the consequences, “dies” off and a new generation takes over.

Frederick Winslow Taylor, who many people credit as the father of “theory X” management science (workers are lazy, greedy, and dumb), died in 1915. Even though it was almost 100 years ago, theory X management mindsets and processes are still deeply entrenched in almost all present day institutions – with no apparent end in sight.

Oh sure, many so-called enlightened companies sincerely profess to shun theory X and embrace theory Y (workers are self-motivated, responsible, and trustworthy), but when you look carefully under the covers, you’ll find that policies and procedures in big institutions are still rooted in absolute control, mistrust, and paternalism. Because, because, because…, that’s the way it has to be since a corollary to theory X thinking is that chaos and inefficiency would reign otherwise.

Alas, you don’t have to look or smell beneath the covers – and maybe you shouldn’t. You can just (bull)doze(r00) on off in blissful ignorance. If you actually do explore and observe theory X in action under a veneer of theory Y lip service, don’t be so hard on yourself or “them“: 1) there’s nothing you can do about it, 2) they’re sincerely trying their best, and 3) “they know not what they do“.

  1. February 7, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Great blog today. You put into words what I have been thinking and didn’t know how to say it!


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