On management

From John Ralston Saul's Massey lectures, The Unconscious Civilization:

Max Weber, the other founder with Durkheim of modern corporatism and sociology, predicted the emergence of a world of efficient, exact managers, all of them trained to solve problems.

Of course, there has always been another view. Flaubert wrote of the ‘mania for conclusions’ as ‘one of humanities most useless and sterile drives.’ He saw this – now one of the manager’s most desirable attributes – as a minor expression of religion. Those who have the truth must have the answer. [...]

As Leon Courville, the president of the Banque Nationale du Canada, has said, the manager’s principle aim is to remove uncertainty, thus forgetting uncertainty is essential to successful action. A terrible fear of error possesses them, because in a pyramid structure there is no admission of the possibility of error. Management is about systems and quantification, not about policy and people.

Enhanced by Zemanta