More thoughts on Ricardo Semler and his unconventional management practices. Semler’s premise is that if you want employees to think and act like adults then treat them like adults. What he mockingly describes as ‘boarding school rules’ serve to alienate employees.
Participative management is not new. Aid and development workers have been talking of participatory development for several years now. We now have talk of participative government with leaders trying to draw in people’s inputs through tools like social networking sites on the Internet. So why is the corporate world so unwilling to give up its command and control style of management? Why do boarding school rules still persist? For instance, call centres are typical of the micromonitoring that a command and control system results in. Call centres are also environments where bullying and the abuse of authority is common.
I have worked for participative and authoritarian managements. The latter workplace was riven by conflict, suspicion, mistrust, fear and worse. In the former, information was freely shared; there was trust, respect and cooperation. People thrived and the organization thrived.