Since the day when Frederick Winslow Taylor said that we need the principles of scientific management to gain economic efficiency, we are blessed (or cursed) with the word management in our vocabulary. Management by definition says that someone called a cowboy (also known as “manager”) has to manage the herd, drive people towards the common goal of going to eat grass when the sun is out and going back to ranch when the sun is down. Therefore management by essence tells us human beings by themselves cannot be in charge of their own work and left to themselves they will pursue their own self interest and nothing will be achieved.
But since so much of the world has changed thanks to technology and globalization, is it fair to say those assumptions are at best outdated? I mean if human beings need to be managed by a visible force to get the work done, how on earth is wikipedia surviving?
This begs the question, left unmanaged, why employees dont do any work? After all they are paid a salary to do the work and on top of it, earns a bonus or commission to get it done decently. The reason is not the need to push people or guide people through managers, and definitely the trick is not in the carrot and stick approach. Thats where most organizations get it wrong. In independent research studies conducted in both MIT, LSE and many other different institutions confirm that when it comes to complex organizational/executive work of 21st century, higher incentive leads to lower performance. Thats a thought that has been championed by Daniel Pink and Dan Ariely for a better part of 6-8 years now.
The truth lies like many things in the human nature. Us human beings by nature want to do things that we enjoy. And we enjoy things which have 3 things: a purpose, our control over it and what we usually like as a person. Its unfortunate that so much of management practices and money is devoured into compensation and benefit program re-thinking, but none is paying any real attention to the most fundamental problem.
Is the nature of the jobs we are creating by nature appealing to the people who we want to hire to do them?
By re-thinking and re-designing our jobs, dare i say we eliminate two fundamental problems of organizations: Motivation of workforce and Office politics.