Sunday, 22 February 2009

Idleness produces stupid ideas

Notice how whenever I am not fully occupied, I write silly things on this blog? Work, family, friends, exercise and other activities usually keep me pretty well occupied, but there are times when I've had a quiet (and short) day at work, the kids are in bed, the house is clean, the washing up is done, J is parked in front of Desperate Housewives and I have some time to myself.

That is when the silliness bubbles to the surface. When I have time to kill, I think of all sorts of stupid things. Stupid ideas expand to fill the available free thinking time.

Now if you think that I can dream up some incredibly stupid ideas in the hour or so that I have to myself all day, imagine what it is like being an academic or a member of the commentariat who has their entire day to engage in this activity.

I decided this week that when I rule the world, I will cut all funding of academic research in the field of business and management studies. Back when Demming and Co. were doing their ground breaking research in the 1950's and 1960's, not much had been written in the field of management - except for maybe "Organisation Man" and "My years with General Motors" (which is a great read). Some truly interesting stuff was produced as the field of management was mined, but by the time Robert Townsend wrote "Up the organisation" back in around 1974, the game was over. There was nothing new to write about. The field had been ploughed back and forth several times, and no new nuggets of knowledge were being found.

For the last 35 years or so, management research has been a waste of space. All we are seeing is old ideas being recycled with new names, or trivial and useless bits of information being peddled in trade magazines in order for academics to gain tenure. There really are only so many methods that you can use to lead and inspire people, and the core ones have been known since Caesar went over the Alps. Nothing much has changed since then.

Management research is a racket and a con, and it's time it was put down like a rabid dog.

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