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Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Return of the Meatware

Investor greed and digital technology are inspiring managers to become New Taylorists, says The Economist.

A long-discredited management theory, Taylorism appeals to executives eager to serve the dark side.

Profits can be boosted, the theory holds, if companies follow three simple rules: 
  • Break complex jobs down into one-dimensional tasks;
  • Measure everything workers do; and 
  • Reward achievers, sack slackers.
The theory's opponents point to studies that show culture matters more than tasks and quotas, carrots and sticks.

But the New Taylorists don't buy it. Encouraged by short-term spurts, they'd rather treat workers as meatware.

There are signs, however, the meatware's time is coming.

"The proliferation of websites such as Glassdoor, which let employees review their workplaces, may mean that firms which treat their workers as mere 'meatware' lose the war for the sort of talent that cannot be mechanized," The Economist says.

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