Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,
The knowledge economy has important implications for both workers and organizations.
The other root cause of our present difficulties with the workforce might be termed a general lowering of employees' frustration tolerance.Many employees, particularly the younger ones, are increasingly reluctant to put up with factory conditions. Despite the significant improvements we've made in the physical environment of our plants. Because they are unfamiliar with the harsh economic facts of earlier years, they have little regard for the consequences if they take a day or two off.
For many, the traditional motivations of job security, money rewards, and opportunity for personal advancement are proving insufficient.
Large numbers of those we hire find factory life so distasteful they quit after only brief exposure to it. The general increase in real wage levels in our economy has afforded more alternatives for satisfying economic needs.
There is also, again especially among the younger employees, a growing reluctance to accept a strict authoritarian shop discipline. This is not just a shop phenomenon, rather is a manifestation in our shops of a trend we see all about us among today's youth.
More money, time and effort than ever before must now be expended in recruiting and acclimatising our quality control programs have been put to severe tests; large numbers of employees remain unmoved by all attempts to motivate them; and order in the plants is being maintained with rising difficulty.
There are symptoms of the alienated worker in our plant-- the absentee rate, as you said, has gone continually higher. Turnover rate is enormous. The use of alcohol and drugs is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. So has apathy within our union movement towards union leaders and towards the Government ... (The worker) has become alienated to the point where he casts off the leadership of his union, his Government... He is disassociated with the whole establishment.
Management exists to minimize the problems created by its own hiring mistakes.Valve says the secret of their management-free environment is hiring good people. That sounds right to me. We don't have any weak contributors in our start-up so we have never felt a need for management.
One of the interesting aspects of better global communications, better access to information, and better mobility is that collectively it reduces the risk of making hiring mistakes. When employers were limited to hiring people who lived nearby, and the only information at their disposal was lie-filled resumes, every growing company would necessarily absorb a lot of losers. But now that entrepreneurs can hire the best people from anywhere in the world, we have for the first time in human history the ability to create teams so capable they require no management structure. That's new.
I think the manager-free model only works for a business that has high margins and depends more on creating hits than cutting costs. The videogame business fits that model, as do many Internet businesses. And in both cases entrepreneurs can hire from anywhere in the world.
So here's my summary: Management only exists to compensate for its own poor hiring decisions. The Internet makes it easier to locate and then work with capable partners. Therefore, the need for management will shrink - at least for some types of businesses - because entrepreneurs have the tools to make fewer hiring mistakes in the first place.
Management won't entirely go away, but as technology makes it easier to form competent teams without at least one disruptive or worthless worker in the group, the need for management will continue to decline.
Via correspondent Rui N.P.: America: A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps.