22 August 2010

Bad apples

must go

This is more or less my intuitive sense. You get it from watching basketball teams assemble their rosters. More than one knucklehead at a time and your season is fucked. But mainly you get it from working around incompetent people or in incompetent organisations. It's obvious to people who could jump ship, so they jump. Or they sink with the rest. In general, an atmosphere of laziness or a peer pressure to do only minimal quality and quantities of work, for fixed pay, will prevail over the occasional star quality worker. They will do less because less is asked of them and because when more is delivered they feel excluded or punished.

Ideally you'd deal with this by paying an efficiency wage for efficiency based work (rather than creative work, which must be handled differently). Except that too has the same peer pressures and so you eventually end up where you started.

In most companies it comes down to a few people who are doing more than everybody else but aren't getting any more for doing it, either because they don't know they should be or because the rest of the workforce prevents them from seeing that they should. In the best companies it may still come down to a few people doing the work, but they would be getting the credit for doing so. And spreading it around themselves to those who deserve it (who had earned it by supportive effort rather than hindrance or impediment to successful work) from there. Rather than bad apples proliferating, you get the good ones in charge and directing the flow of traffic for management (management so far as I can tell merely nurtures this process, it has little ability to actually run the floor).
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