Home > Articles > Business & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Managers Have Huge Blind Spots

One of the most distressing patterns in modern organizations is the apparent and long-standing view that managers fail to recognize that employees are human beings who may be suffering at their hands. Time after time, employees report in interviews and respond to surveys with essentially the same concern: People develop blind spots when they become managers.

Jaundiced Eyes

We've seen quite a bit of this yellow discoloration of the eyes in universities. When a faculty member is dragged, kicking and screaming, into the position of department chair, his or her initial understanding of problems is comfortably comparable with that of other faculty members. After being in the position for a few weeks or months, an alarming change occurs. The new chair seems to forget entirely what concerns he or she had as a faculty member. In only a short period of time, the new chair appears to exhibit a startling disregard for faculty concerns and a high regard for his or her new boss. Similarly, the move from worker to manager appears to short-circuit new managers' critical synapses so as to help them forget how little they really trusted their managers when they were workers. They forget how difficult it was to be listened to, much less how important it was to be rewarded and valued for their ideas.

How soon we forget that freedom is important in the lives of workers. Why do managers become consumed with the idea that they must direct and control the lives of others if they are to move up the corporate ladder?

After reviewing shifts occurring in business environments, Brandt observed that "unique events are increasingly the norm; at least they are common. And the correct responses are one-offs. All the control systems can do in most companies is hamper the development of appropriate replies by the members of the enterprise. Management heritage is aimed at order, not inventiveness or responsiveness." The painful emphasis on control by managers led Macleod to identify factors that make employees feel like they are prisoners of the firm. They have little or no choice in their work lives. The range of options is very limited and the workers have little control over the conditions under which they work. They thus feel trapped and imprisoned. Additionally, like prisoners, they are under the control of people in authority who make decisions at their own convenience and by their own choice. There are rigid and arbitrary rules. Infractions of the rules are punished severely. Employees quickly learn about the negative consequences of disobeying or even speaking up in opposition to the orders, rules, and norms of the corporate culture.

Employees are also regulated by imposed time schedules and unwavering routines. Specified starting times at work dictate when the individual rises, has breakfast, and leaves for work. The worker may also need to meet a fixed train, bus, or commuter schedule both before and after work. The employee's time may almost be completely regulated from rising on Monday morning to arriving home on Friday evening. At one prominent company, employees are asked to work at least 50 hours each week. Commuting time takes an hour to get to work and another hour to return home. The train schedule adds an additional hour, and lunchtime tacks on another hour. Employees devote about 70 hours to work each week. Incredibly, this company takes great pride in advancing family values and encouraging employees to spend more time with their families.

At work, employees may be deprived of their individuality, be separated from their family and friends, occupy offices and quarters that have a lack of privacy, and labor in unpleasant physical conditions in workstations with limited space. The temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of the air is carefully controlled for computer equipment rather than for employees. Finally, appraisal systems implemented by powerful people who have secondhand, sketchy, and often inaccurate information, but whose decisions are final, may have a decisive and highly negative effect on employees' futures.

No wonder employees watch the clock, daydream, and expect little stimulation from the workplace. On the job, they only do what seems absolutely necessary, stay out of trouble, and try not to rock the boat.

Old Management Logic

Despite all the rhetoric about new age management styles, managers, as well as too many others, are still locked into an elitist, outdated "management logic." The old management logic runs something like this: The ideal system for creating products and delivering services is to take human beings and coerce them into following a specific set of procedures that hopefully minimize the risk of failure. At the same time, managers can pursue other policies that mold, shape, change, and control workers on the misguided assumption that management is responsible for making decisions for them.

At first glance, this doesn't seem like a terribly bad approach, at least for managers. In practice, however, it is fraught with difficulties. The first difficulty stems from having employees perform the same procedures day in and day out, week after week. Employees become bored out of their minds because they are not able to use their minds. Soon morale declines, energy levels dip, and in fact workers begin to discover ways to impede the work and strike back at managers and the company to compensate for the mindless, insensitive ways in which they are being treated. They begin to feel frustrated, tired, and imprisoned. Isn't it interesting that managers trap themselves in this old management logic and then turn right around and trap their workers in the same mindset?

The second difficulty that comes from following traditional management logic is that the demands on management make it impossible for them to figure out new procedures for workers to follow when the market changes. Thus, changing customer needs, the development of new technologies, and widespread decentering can't be responded to in order to ensure maximum profits and implant a no-failure effort.

Managers have tried in the past to keep employees interested in their work by such practices as rotating them from one job to another. Rotation doesn't work very well, because each job quickly becomes boring and doesn't use the workers' potential any better than the first one. When rotating workers resulted in even more complexity and contradictions, managers were urged to add more variety and depth to the work. Unfortunately, the variety is limited and the depth is restricted to fit the company's already existing rules, regulations, and processes. So, that doesn't help very much. It leads again to the popular metaphor of the workplace as a prison.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020