By François Dupuy (auth.)
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Extra info for Business for the 21st Century: Towards Simplicity and Trust
This brings us back to the notion of ‘externalities’, as long as these overruns could be passed on to the client, who had no alternative but to deal with them. Perverse? Not a bit of it: merely the strategic application of the highly protective virtues of work in its segmented, sequential form. In a word, we find here that instead of being a kind of mutilation, Taylorism acts as a protection. This notion of work as a means of ‘protection’ has already been the subject of much discussion. Briefly, work is supposed to protect against the vicissitudes of life.
From then on, everything became clear: the department was the ‘thorn in everyone’s side’. To work in this department was to depend on those dealing directly with the clients, on those who brought in the cash and who therefore expanded the amount of variable compensation available. One can see why, in order to be successful, the work of the department called for a great deal of tact, failing which what might start out as a trial of strength entered into unthinkingly could turn into a rout for the unwary.
Asked one member of the department when I asked him to describe its composition. Given that the department was extremely compartmentalized, not only did people not know each other, they didn’t know what the others in the department were doing. An unmistakable sign was that when asked which working environment they belonged to or which was their centre of reference, people cited their unit inside the department, not the department itself. The actors themselves made much of this mutual ignorance, even though ultimately they had no clear perception of its consequences: ‘Maybe Unit X works better than mine.
Business for the 21st Century: Towards Simplicity and Trust by François Dupuy (auth.)