A Bad Strategic Management Decision

I was reading chapter three of Gareth Morgan’s ‘Images of Organization’ yesterday evening in preparation for my MN202 – Organisation Theory & Design class this afternoon. The chapter is concerned with interpreting organizations through the image of biological organisms.

One passage struck me as very interesting and accurate in relation to an experience I had in the workplace back in the mid-nineties.

First of all here is the relevant quotation from page 67:

“Imagine a socio-technological system where human needs characteristic of the higher reaches of Maslow’s need hierarchy meet a technology characterized by routine, boring, low-discretion jobs. The result is one of human boredom and alienation where game playing and sabotage often emerge as means of gaining self-respect. The abrasive interaction between subsystems in this case is likely to produce an ongoing battle between workers and management, high absenteeism, job turnover when new jobs are freely available, poor-quality products, and low organizational and self-image. The socio-technical approach suggests that, by accommodating and balancing basic needs, strategic management can create a much more harmonious and productive work environment.”

This description reminded me of a situation that developed for me during my employment on a production line for a well known multi-national company (which will remain nameless) in 1998.


About Adam Byrne

Freelance Entrepreneur
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9 Responses to A Bad Strategic Management Decision

  1. Tea Friend says:

    A professor of mine once mentioned this in a similar way, it was a international business course, the professor had said something to the extent of making sure that your employees basic needs are met in order for them to work effectively for you, he brought in the Maslow hierarchy of needs. I believe that a boss/owner that takes care of his employees will receive the same in return and have a successful employee work force! Thanks for the reminder of this!

  2. John Cullen. says:

    Don’t get the title though Adam?

    • adamabyss says:

      Yes you are right John. It was not a strategic decision in terms of the company’s perspective. It was just a minor operational matter. However, it was certainly strategic from my own point of view! I was out the door and moving onto pastures new! Thanks as always for the input.

    • adamabyss says:

      Also, if this management philosophy was applied across the organisation – i. e. a policy of appointing the ‘best’ people to the ‘worst’ jobs then it could certainly be seen as a strategic error, even if it were practiced unconsciously. It would need addressing as it would surely lead to undesired consequences for the company on a larger scale than in relation to the individual circumstances of my negative experience. Or am I stretching the metaphor too far?

    • adamabyss says:

      I guess unconscious (or subconscious) strategy (if that is not a misnomer in itself) is basically culture.

  3. aideenleacy says:

    Really enjoyed it Adam! Sorry about the job though… ha

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