Re: Is this a typical technical writing environment?

Subject: Re: Is this a typical technical writing environment?
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "T. Word Smith" <techwordsmith -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 09:24:41 -0500

T. Word Smith wrote:

Sigh, if only. BUT! Of course, we do.

But, I'm not sure managers get tested nor am I sure
how the results are used. For example, if a potential
tw candidate got a 98% on our test, and was a good fit
in every other way including money, I still couldn't
be certain we'd hire them ... but, again, that's a
management decision ... and so it goes.

Testing managers or anyone else is approaching the wrong end of the horse. Managers are ordinary people like you and me, people we'd have gladly shared a beer with the day before they got promoted. And the Peter Principle, while it certainly embodies a truth, is not the real problem, either.

The reason managers act like pointy-haired bosses is not that their characters are flawed or that they lack skills. The reason is that the system is broken and the job managers are given to do cannot be done. (I'm not saying this applies to all managers, only to those working in broken systems.) They are given sets of mutually excusive demands, all of which are labeled as their number one priority. How well would you do in a job like that?

Is this a natural consequence of adhering to a hierarchical structure? I suspect it is something like that, but every now and then I hear about a nominally hierarchical corporation that seems to function pretty well, so there must be something subtler at work. Maybe it's a consequence of cultural factors rather than structural factors.

In any case, while there are individuals who behave badly, I mostly don't blame managers for making illogical decisions any more.


In the calculus of corporate decision-making, logic carries a negative coefficient.

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RE: Is this a typical technical writing environment?: From: T. Word Smith

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