A missive from the Department of Making Researchers Look Busy

Some researchers have done a study which finds anyone can be a boss! What a lovely thought. This kind of thinking is what gets us Pointy Haired Bosses. Seriously, I bet you can think of a dozen people who shouldn’t be be able to delegate anything more critical than making sure the plants are watered. Yet according to university level research, these people can be a boss.

Of course what they mean to say is that anyone can be bossy and make arbitrary decisions — some might even make surprisingly good decisions. Furthermore, this “research” found that “unwilling subordinates” tended to try and be the boss in any event. Theoretically I suppose this means it is better to put the naturally bossy in charge ofsomething, anything, even if it’s those pesky plants, as long as it gets them out of the important stuff. This does however, support the writings of people like Tom Peters, whose employee empowerment theories include the idea that if you allow all employees some latitude in their decision making, they will rise to the occasion, make mostly decent decisions, and make your customers happier by not having to refer to a manager or a rule-book.

Even the researchers admit “We didn’t actually measure the quality of the performance.” Perhaps they are saving that for the next grant proposal.