Where do corporate parasites come from - 2

    Another cross-post from my technical blog ...
    - I already wrote on this topic, but there was a striking, but only one specific example. And most importantly, he did not explain the systematic reasons for the appearance of these, but only how this happens. And there are, alas, systematic reasons. And about one of them, I would like to talk today. By the way, it concerns not only the software industry, but generally where there are knowledge workers - office workers, all kinds of very smart and creative, and the other proletariat of the 21st century.

    And this reason for the average layman is a little shocking - a lie built into the corporate management system. No, no, false is too rude a word. Say better, virtual reality is built into the corporate management system. Let me explain. You still found the USSR when you were at school? If so, then you were told the story as the story of the attitude of the employer and employee. In slavery, the owner has a lash, and he can force. In feudal, you work on my land - pay for use and for protection from the neighboring baron or king. Under capitalism, it is still more liberal, you work for me, I give you money. It seems even not necessary. In the twentieth century, everything became a little more complicated, here you have not only money for work, but also social protection, what kind of medicine, pension ... Even here, in America. And what do you think Roosevelt did?

    The twentieth century is generally special. This is the age of the mass working class, blue-collar workers, and a constant balance between what employers promised and what they really gave. Or at least they convinced the workers that they were giving. Whether it is democracy, a bright communist future, or the purity of the Aryan race. This is a very important clarification, because it was much cheaper to convince employees that they have something good, than to really give. The whole industry has grown on this, the media is called, mass media, a means of propaganda. I mean, television, radio, newspapers, magazines ...

    Moreover, this worked not only in macroeconomics in the size of the country, but also in micro, in the size of the company, team. A manager who could convince employees that they have something that they really do not have, or rejoice that they have something that they really do not need at all, such a manager always had an advantage. He needed less resources for the same project, or he could make a larger project with the same resources, for one simple reason - he had virtual resources, resources, rewards in the imagination of his subordinates. And it went on for a long time. The beginning of the mass working class is the eighteenth century. The beginning of industrial society is the end of the nineteenth.

    Remember, we said that management often ends up in virtual reality? So, the opposite is also true. By a good manager, by the standards of the twentieth century, subordinates lived in virtual reality, where a commendable wall plate priced at a couple of dollars or a pennant of the winner of the social contest for 32 copecks, the article GOST 12345, was valued much higher than the real increase in salary. Have we already said that the working environment is evolutionary? And in this evolutionary environment, managers who have been able to create virtual reality have survived for more than a hundred years.

    If you are aware of evolutionary theory, you should already have understood what happened. To a large extent, the manager’s job was precisely this creation of virtual reality for the team. “Are you proud to work at OUR factory?” “What is your contribution to the team?” “We have a wonderful team!” Is that familiar? Do you think it was only in the USSR? Try here in America to come for an interview without demonstrating how happy you are that you can be invited to such a company. Even if “SUCH” the company produces programmed toilets.

    Only in the second half of the twentieth century, something began to go wrong with the creators of virtual reality. There are “knowledge workers”, “knowledge workers”, a class of workers who know better than the manager what needs to be done for the good of the company, and they do. For which they receive a salary. And these are not only engineers, they are other office workers - marketing, sales, and even the managers themselves. They were opened in the early sixties by the “father of American corporate management” Peter Drucker, and then began to develop ways to manage this new category of employees.

    Now imagine the problem of a manager who must create virtual reality, say, for sellers of used cars or insurance. Okay, let’s go back to the engineers without such extreme sports, because all the same it was not easy. Imagine you are a manager and you have a group of engineers. You hired them because they are smart. And now you need to convince them that making such a product (the same toilet with program control) is much more important than feeding a family, paying for a house or educating children ... Once again, in case you didn’t notice, YOU HANDED THEM BECAUSE, WHAT THEY ARE SMART. As the Americans say, uh-oh!

    It would seem that to give up lies, to give people honest work just for the money ... But do not forget, this is an evolutionary environment. That is, corporate management could refuse only if there is no cheaper and more effective solution. And you know, there is such a solution! And it is called "social proof." Let me explain with an example.

    I saw this documentary on Soviet television almost in my school years, but I still remember it. Psychologists are conducting an experiment with a group of children from kindergarten. Porridge is placed on the plate, sweet on the right, tasteless salty-nasty on the left. The children take turns taking a spoon from the sweet edge and are asked: “How's the porridge, sweet?” Everyone, of course, confirms that it’s sweet. At one point, one of the children is slipped from an unsweetened edge. He frowns, swallows the porridge with surprise and confirms that it is sweet. “Do you want something else?” You need to see the anguish on the face of this baby in order to believe ...

    And the reason is simple: we are all social beings. If a bunch of people around us claim that a red pennant is good, then even the smartest of us have the habit of agreeing. For us, belonging to a team, or a tribe there, which is more important than that, is sweet porridge really or not. Collective idiocy scares us far less than isolation. This is also the result of evolution. Millions of years of human and monkey evolution, exiles from the tribe perished much more often than collective idiots, and it hung in the skin, in the flesh and blood, in our genes.

    But where to get those who will convince the engineer of the reality of virtual reality? Well, they are infectious, not only at rallies, after all, they communicate in a smoking room ... And the casket just opens. To a group of engineers or there, the same designers, marketers, advertisers, sellers, hire someone not so smart. At least in terms of engineering, design, marketing, advertising or sales. But "with enthusiasm for the most want." Of course, he does not do the work of an engineer or advertising there, if obviously he does not harm it at all. But he keeps real engineers, marketers and others in hyper-efficiency mode, in virtual reality mode. And it turns out, at least judging by the results in the evolutionary environment of the corporate working environment, that hiring such ram provocateurs is much cheaper than telling the truth to people.

    Nothing personal, business is business. The environment is really evolutionary. If telling the truth would be more effective, then very many would say the truth. In many small companies, where ram provocateurs can not afford it, they even say it. But not in large firms. Obviously, so far this is not even more effective. I personally believe that this will change and telling the truth will be more profitable (again, for systematic reasons, which now there is no time to go into), but this, apparently, has not yet happened.

    Well, a sweet question. When you need a new manager, who will you promote to this position? An engineer who does a useful job, or this virtual real enthusiast, who in all other respects is more harmful than useful? And let me remind you, “to a large extent, it was the creation of virtual reality for the team that became the manager’s job.” You know, it remains only to shrug and admit that there is even some kind of perverse logic in this. Indeed, this is what our enthusiast specialized in all the way!

    By the way, you already understood why in the headline I asked "Where do corporate parasites come from?"

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