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Management of Change
Entry 1889, on 2017-12-15 at 14:30:26 (Rating 5, Comments)
My friend Fred (not his real name), who works in a similar organisation and role to me, recently regaled me with a tale of woe regarding the "restructuring" his organisation is going through (I use the word "organisation" here because I would prefer not to say what it is and whether it is a private company or a public institution, but it really doesn't make any difference to the core message of this post).
One of the farcical aspects of this process is something called "management of change" which basically involves a propaganda campaign which attempts to persuade the participants what a good idea it all is, and to dispose of those who cannot be persuaded as quickly and quietly as possible.
A common complaint made by the perpetrators of these misdeeds against their unwilling victims is that they are resistant to change. That is, they just don't like new ideas or new ways of doing things, and if they would just be a bit more open-minded and accepting they woud see that the new ideas are good and everything would be OK.
Of course, if the victims really were resistant to change in general then this would be a good point, but Fred always mentions one very pertinent point: that is that it is not change in general that he is resistant to, it is just the type of change which usually occurs.
The managers might say something like "But you don't like any of the changes we want to make." and Fred would respond "Exactly. You seem to be incapable of making fair and reasonable decisions, and everything you do is grossly flawed. If you started implementing changes that we actually wanted then we would be fully supportive. Until then, we will resist and sabotage your efforts as much as possible. You are grossly incompetent and we have no confidence in your decisions."
I can see his point exactly, although he could be said to have a slight tendency towards ranting. I sometimes wonder about Fred's ranting because it often tends towards the extreme, and having that degree of cynicism and distrust seems a bit unhealthy in some ways.
But here are sorts of changes Fred almost always sees and doesn't like: more bureaucracy, paperwork, timesheets, accounting records, and other mindless time wasting; more control by management and less self-sufficiency for the actual professionals doing the work; budgets cuts making it harder to get the equipment necessary to work efficiently, to attent conferences, and to get training, at the same time as the organisation wastes huge amounts on pointless projects; and more extreme control and micro-management by managers even though they have no idea what is really required.
And here are the sorts of changes he would fully support: reducing paper-work so that the professionals could actually do the work they are both good at and are ultimately paid to do; letting the workers make decisions based on their expertise and experience instead of following dysfunctional policies devised by people entirely ignorant of the real requirements of the job; diverting some of the funds going to wasteful management projects and using it for basic equipment and training for the people actually carrying out the organisation's core tasks; and giving the staff the freedom to work the way that works best for them and their clients.
If more (or any) changes came from the second list and not the first then Fred assures me he would be fully supportive of them.
But the saddest thing about these "management mongrels" (Fred's words) is their total ignorance of how much their staff actually despise them. I mean, Fred often speaks with an air of genuine hatred towards these "worthless scum" (his words again) and he's not the sort of person to be so negative in general.
He recounts an incident where he was treated with total disdain by the HR department of his organisation, including threats to possibly involve the police, and it was only the intervention of his lawyer which made them back off (and pay him a moderate sum for the stress they caused, because they were obviously wrong). Yet a week after that a senior HR staff member who had been responsible for his persecution casually greeted him on the street as if they were the best of friends.
It's as if these people are sub-human monsters (his words) and cannot connect with real people. They like to think they are all part of the same team, all working towards the same greater goal, and all good friends, but the complete opposite is true. In fact, they are the enemy and must always be treated as such.
Thomas Paine said that "the duty of a patriot is to protect his country from his government." Fred would say that it is the duty of every worker to protect his company, institution, etc from its management.
Comment 1 (4860) by Anonymous on 2017-12-16 at 22:25:09: (view recent only)
I have a friend who totally agrees with Fred's point of view. He learnt all about the power mismatches between management and workers while doing management papers at the university he works at. Consequently, he was surprised then saddened when the university that taught him about respect for workers began withholding information about an upcoming restructure and telling 2000 people that about 160 would lose their jobs.
Just today he saw one of his co-workers crying with worry about whether she would have a job next year and how she would pay her mortgage. Some of the workers were so worried they quit just to make the worry go away. This made the managers happy because it was one less job they would have to find for someone.
They could have just used natural attrition to reduce the number of jobs, but they preferred to power trip and use fear to control their staff. Bastards.
Comment 2 (4861) by OJB on 2017-12-16 at 22:25:56:
Yes, Fred has called them immoral, inhuman monsters. They have no idea what they are doing to the people involved. And it's not as if their changes ever work out well anyway. In another decade they will reverse it all again because it hasn't worked. Back in the day we would have a strike or something, but we are such sheeple now. We just do as we're told.
Comment 3 (4862) by OJB on 2017-12-16 at 22:26:15:
Here's a good one... someone today thought that Fred was really me! Ridiculous, of course.
Comment 4 (4863) by Anonymous on 2017-12-16 at 22:26:31: LOL
Comment 5 (4864) by Anonymous on 2017-12-16 at 22:27:23:
Yep. I wasn't brave enough to post this on a public forum using my name, 'cause you know, someone might be watching and you know, gotta pay the mortgage somehow.
Comment 6 (4865) by OJB on 2017-12-16 at 22:28:41:
Sure. I understand. I never mention the names of real people (such as my informant "Fred") or organisations in these discussions for similar reasons.
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