Friday 26 October 2012

Modern management - Generating procedures by following procedures...


People aren't rational, and never have been - the difference is that modern society is built on a pretence of rationality.


When, as usual, procedures are inefficient, ineffective, counter-productive, actively harmful - then it is a rare individual who can be found to do anything about it.

It is a rare individual who will advocate not doing a bad procedure; and rarer still to find anyone who will act upon this prohibition.

The world has been filled-with and locked-into very obviously futile and deadly procedures; which people dutifully albeit half-heartedly try to implement (that is their 'job'), and which dutiful behaviour they expect and coerce from others.


I conclude that the whole system of organisation by procedure as currently practised is wrong; and for a simple reason.

Modern procedure is itself created by procedures.

That's the problem.


Most people (and I mean nearly all people) are capable only of following procedure - it is rare to find anybody capable of inventing or even of improving procedure.

The ability even to think about procedure in an abstract way is very rare indeed and completely absent in most environments; such people are necessarily thinly spread - and much, much thinner spread than the vast number of procedures in place.

Such people are necessarily overwhelmingly outnumbered, and (given the democratic mindset and structure) naturally ignored.


All domains of human activity (including science, technology, academia, arts, law... everything) are now swamped by a majority of procedure-following people who are themselves cognitively unable to create - or even focus-upon, analyse and improve - procedures.

Yet these same procedure-following people are themselves called upon to create procedures!

That is, in other words, they are managers.

Yet they are cognitively incapable of managing; they cannot even understand what it is to manage - leave aside actualy do it!


Even-worse - since they are incapable of creating procedures but capable only of following procedures; they (unbelievably, but ubiquitously!) create procedures by committees and voting!

That is, they set up systems to create procedure by procedure!

And this insanity is normal life; so normal that it is normative: anyone who attempted to create procedure non-procedurally would be regarded as immoral, dangerous, unreliable. 


Management is the modern world, and the modern world is dying because of the defects of 'management'.

Management is a procedure-generating activity and thus accepts procedure as the necessary nature of the world of management; yet due to its vast size and reach, the mass majority of management is composed of human beings who are intrinsically cognitively incapable of management.

Being incapable, they deploy committee and voting structures which render management impossible even as they conceal its absence; so the loop has closed and management becomes itself a product of management.

Procedures are deployed to create procedure; and the system is sealed from reality; thus - since management is the modern world - the modern world is sealed from reality.



Matias F. said...

The most influential philosophers of the last 50 years, John Rawls and J├╝rgen Habermas, even define Justice respectively Truth as procedures. That their views have become the standard shows just how fully modernity can deviate from Natural Law.

Bruce Charlton said...

@MF - Yes indeed - when trying to validate a procedure procedurally, the infinite regress problem is immediately obvious to anyone whose brain is engaged; therefore modern man's brain is permanently disengaged.

Post Aquinas philosophers are among the biggest culprits for cerebral disengagement, which is why a philosophical training is often lethal to serious, grounded reflection.

(A more deeply-trivial group of men and women than the most eminent British 20th century philosophers would be hard to imagine, leave aside enumerate.)

(Disengagement is necessary because all infinite regresses imply the necessity for divine revelation which implies some kind of god; which means that the experts in reality are the holiest men, not the cleverest or most experienced men. Since this is an unacceptable disocovery; all such problems of regress are dealt with by actions such as arguments from hedonic expediency/ aggressive displacment activity/ ad hominem attacks.)

George Goerlich said...

Love your philosophical posts. Thank you for sharing (instructing).

James Higham said...

There's a post on the railways currently which incorporates precisely this and quotes from here, Bruce. Spot on about procedural thinking.