The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Tyranny of the Prevailing Style of Management

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The Essential Deming, includes material from Dr. Deming’s letters, speeches and articles. Several are from his lectures at Fordham University, including: Tyranny of the Prevailing Style of Management (page 184-5):

We’re living in prison. Under the tyranny of the prevailing style of management. A style of interaction between people, between teams, between divisions, between competitors. We need to throw overboard our theories and practices of the present, and build afresh.

The transformation will take us into a new system of reward. They must restore the individual, and do so in the complexities of interaction with the rest of the world. The transformation will release the power of human resource contained within, intrinsic motivation in place of competition for high rating, high grades.

There needs to be cooperation on problems of common interest between people, between divisions, companies, governments, countries. The result will in time be greater innovation, greater applied science, better technology, expansion of market, greater service, greater material reward for everyone. There will be joy in work because people will understand what their jobs are. Who depends on me? Whom do I depend on? There will be joy in learning. Anyone who enjoys their work is a pleasure to work with.

Dr. Deming talked a great deal about the importance of management focusing on the people powering organizations. That focus on psychology and motivation is often overlooked. Often, extrinsic motivation is used to substitute for intrinsic motivation; when the existing management system cripples intrinsic motivation. This is a big problem and is a big cause of the tyranny we face. Extrinsic motivation is not an effective way to cover management system faults that cripple intrinsic motivation.

Instead management needs to design and nurture a management system that allows our natural desire to take pride and joy in our work. When managing human system an appreciation for psychology allows managers to build systems that nurture intrinsic motivation and then benefit from the great results people taking pride in their work can provide.

Related: The greatest waste in America is failure to use the ability of peoplePractical Ways to Respect People in the WorkplaceKnowing How to Manage People Is the Single Most Important Part of Management


Categorised as: Dr. Deming, psychology, respect for people


One Comment

  1. [...] The way to great performance is creating systems that allow people autonomy and let them pursue mastery and purpose. Extrinsic motivation is not an effective way to cover management system faults that cripple intrinsi…. [...]

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