Introducing Bartleby, our new column on management and work

May 24, 2018

WORK is like a capricious lover whose incessant demands are resented but who is missed terribly when they are not there. The relationship is long-term; an average person spends more than half their life at work. Work defines people’s social status, sets income levels and generates a circle of friends.

Attitudes to management, as to work, are double-edged. The modern economy has become immensely complex. Coordinating the production of goods and services across international supply chains represents a huge achievement. Becoming a manager is usually seen as a promotion, yet the role of a “middle manager” is often despised as a useless layer of bureaucracy. Workers simultaneously blame managers for not providing enough leadership and for interfering too much with their daily tasks.

For their part, managers desperately want to improve their performance. Enter “management books” as a search term on Amazon and you get more than 100,000 results. Budding executives solemnly learn the...Continue reading

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