Monday, 16 August 2010

Managerial control

One of the books I currently have on the go is Douglas MacGregor's The Human Side of Enterprise which came out in 1960. It contains a very early critique of fiancial incentives which is argued in part from the perspective of control - employees often perceive contingent rewards as an attempt to coerce them. But there's also lots of interesting stuff of general managerial attitudes to control, and the effects they have:
Those managements who are most worried about their prerogatives seem, in general, to have the greatest difficulty in protecting them. It is at least possible that this suspicious, almost paranoid, attitude of management actually tends to promote interference with management prerogatives, to create targets which employees promptly shoot at. The chain of events in some companies amounts to a self-fufilling prophecy: Management expects certain things to happen, and behaves in such a way that they do happen. Then management reverses cause and effect in its interpretation of what has taken place.

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