Wilfred Brown on Democratic Society

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Wilfred Brown’s structures for a decent work organization led to the speculations that I’m making this week. However, reading him again over the last two days, I’m not sure that these points are actually in his work. They are perhaps my own interpretations being read in. Brown believed in Workplace Democracy. This wasn’t the simplistic ideas of others that you …

Attendees at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois. 1952 by Thomas J. O'Halloran, U.S. News & World Report Magazine. Donated into the public domain. Via Library of Congress.

Elliott Jaques on How the Workplace Influences Democracy’s Development

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One of the things that impressed me about Elliott Jaques when I first read him was his stated desire to build democratic feeling within workers. It may have been the influence of Wilfred Brown at Glacier, as Brown was always interested in democracy and how to build it, leading to his great interest in workplace democracy which predated his work …

"How To Make a Madoff"

E. Forrest Christian Organizations, Reviews - Articles, Theory Leave a Comment

Ben Levisohn, “How To Make A Madoff“, Business Week, December 16, 2008. You don’t have to do anything to get a Madoff. They are always with us, like the poor. The question is whether or not you will create the social structures that detect them early. In evolutionary psychology, this is called cheater detection and it makes up a major …

Laboratory worker at the research laboratory at the C & NW RR's 40th Street yard, examining paint samples used on freight cars and coaches of the railroad, Chicago, Ill. (LOC). By Delano, Jack.

When Experience Won’t Hack It

E. Forrest Christian Careers, Theory Leave a Comment

At the last GO Society conference in Toronto, Owen Jacobs of the US Army talked about how the MCPA (Modified Career Path Assessment) didn’t actually measure capability but more potential. (See video of Owen Jacob’s presentation) Well, duh, of course. Experience is the key to capability. If you have high capacity but not chance to gain experience, your level of …

Blagojevich: Why Wilfred Brown's Ideas Still Work

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Theory, Wilfred Brown 7 Comments

“The combination of arrogance and stupidity that would prompt him to continue in these types of behaviors is just stunning,” Dr. [Kent Redfield, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield,] said . “There’s no feedback loop or reality check.” [source] If you haven’t been following it, Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich (known widely as “Blago”) has …

Lighthouse at night, (c) 2009 Martin Belam. Via flickr. (CC BY SA 2.0)

Transitions Are Like Being Lost In The Pacific

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Once we get past our teens, our cognitive capacity to handle complexity grows over time in predictable rates. This is similar to psychologist Jean Piaget’s ideas of Theory of Cognitive Development in children. We get set on a trajectory and without some serious intervention (and maybe even in spite of it) our ability to handle amounts of work complexity changes …

Commuters, who have just come off the train, waiting for the bus to go home, Lowell, Mass Photo by Jack Delano, Library of Congress collection

Management Accountability Hierarchy Not Always Best (Elliott Jaques’s Requisite Organization)

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Recently, a post from Tom Foster made me want to clarify something: The Management Accountability Hierachies described by Elliott Jaques are not always the most effective form of organization. Foster answers a question about the employees of a volunteer outreach center. He clearly believes that it requires a management accountability hierarchy (where there are clear lines of accountability and Real …