The lobby at Google headquarters – where “open source management” (whatever that is) no doubt takes place
Here’s an interesting article on Google – on how it tries to maintain it’s evolutionary edge as an organisation. The thinking in it is very much in the style of modern management speak – with much praise of horizontal structures etc. I take it all with a grain of salt as a matter of course. A lot of this kind of management ‘theory’ is simply the breathless conveying of the various rationalisations of the successful.
Nevertheless, there’s a theme there that, if it’s true is interesting. Google is trying hard to harness the wisdom of crowds. The thing I don’t like is Google’s worship of smartness – the Mensa like exams to get into the place.
America seems to be the premier laboratory of corporate experiments in social Darwinism. I recall Australia’s own Jac Nasser (I did some consulting to him when he was CEO of Ford Australia and was underwhelmed) being involved in an HR system in Ford US in which the bottom x% of employees got shown the door each year just to grease the wheels of evolution in the corporation. It was such a huge success Jac joined the x% soon after.
I’m not sure that one needs to keep out the not so super-smart to liberate the super-smart to do their bit. Economics is certainly a profession that prizes smartness very highly and has a disappointingly substantial number of people occupying some of the commanding heights of the profession with an excess of smarts and no bloody sense.
Postscript. As the liink above demonstrates, I’m a big fan of the book The Wisdom of Crowds. On searching for the link I saw that Wikipedia has an entry on it – of course. And (why am I not surprised?) it’s a good summary of the ideas in the book.