Managements Deadly Diseases
Kierra S. Mann
April 29, 2018
Business Organizational Theory and Behavior
Dr. W Edwards Deming was an eminent scholar and teacher in American academia who published hundreds of papers, articles and books that covered statistical variance, systems thinking, and human psychology (Deming.org). In 1982, Dr. Deming published a book called Out of the Crisis which emphasizes how American companies could be successful if management styles would change. His book also highlights his most popular publishing of his works 14 Points of Management, which identifies 14 key principles that management can use in order to improve the effectiveness of their organization. As noted by Dr. Deming in The New Economics, "My 14 Points for Management follow naturally as application of the System of Profound Knowledge for transformation from the present style of management to one of optimization." The first three diseases from Dr. Deming’s 14 Points for Management are constancy of purpose, emphasis on short-term profits, and performance evaluations. These three diseases are ideas that were discussed in class and has allowed me to illustrate an in-depth analysis of an organization that I used to work at, Command Consulting Group.
In the Summer of 2016, I managed to land an internship at Command Consulting Group as an Accounting Intern for the Accounting Department. Command Consulting Group is a firm based in Washington D.C. that specializes in providing solutions related to safety, security, and intelligence to governments, private organizations, and high-net-worth individuals. The firms team includes a wide variety of safety, security, and intelligence experts, all with law enforcement, homeland security, military or U.S. government operational backgrounds. My responsibilities as an accounting intern included assisting with account payables and receivables by recording journal entries in QuickBooks, performing intercompany reconciliation to identify unrecorded transactions and discrepancies, and implementing the FIFO inventory valuation method.
Constancy of purpose is the first deadly disease of Dr. Deming’s 14 Points for Management. This disease occurs when a company fails to improve the products or services due to the lack of innovation. As I started to adjust in my position at the firm, I began to realize how the accounting department lacked the proper systems to function efficiently. For example, the company sales paraphernalia and incurs a decent amount of revenue from doing so. In the accounting world, inventory is recognized as an asset and must be properly recorded in the company’s books using one of the three inventory valuation methods. As the accounting intern, I implemented the First In First Out (FIFO) inventory valuation method so the company may get a better understanding on how much profit the company was making from selling paraphernalia and how much was available in stock to sell . By thinking innovatively, I was able to improve their inventory valuation method so that the firm may make successful business decisions with the aim to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs.
Emphasis on short term profits was Deming’s second of the seven diseases. This disease emphasizes on the lack of long-term planning that’s done by management and how focusing on short-term profits can lead to underperformance in other areas that are important. After 2 months of working at the firm, I noticed that a lot of the staff at CCG played more than one role. For example, Melissa who is the Staff Accountant also handled all of the paperwork for HR, and Zach who is the IT guy handled the public relations for the Communication Dept. Often times, companies place additional roles on employees so they do not have to hire someone to fill that position with the hopes of cutting back on expenses. The dangers of taking this route causes employee’s to feel drained to the point where they are not working effectively at the position they’ve originally got hired for. Because Command Consulting Group focused more on short-term profits and not long-term planning, it lead to underperformance in other departments which affected the company as a whole.
The last and final disease I will discuss is Deming’s third deadly disease concerning the evaluation of employees, and how merit ratings can be devastating to an organization. Every 6 months , the HR Department at CCG conducts an employee performance evaluation for each employee at the company. The primary goal for my performance evaluation is to discuss employees strengths and weaknesses and what they needed to improve on so they can be the best in their position. Each employees performance evaluation was conducted in a conference room with the HR Department and their department manager. On the day of the performance evaluations, I would witness all of CCG’s employees go into the conference room with a smile on their face and come out with an overwhelming look of uncertainty. Witnessing the aftereffect of the performance evaluations at CCG confirms Demings argument that evaluations rob workers of their sense of pride and workmanship rather than motivate employees to do their best in their position.
In the midst of my performance evaluation, I remember my supervisor utilizing doubletalk which was another idea discussed in class. Double talk is the distortion, changing, or switching of words to make an unpleasant or negative situation not sound as awful. The most common use of double talk is used in politics and religion. With the intentions of getting offered a job extension during my performance evaluation, my manager explained to me that there will no longer be a position for an accounting intern and instead, there will be a salary position for an accounting assistant. She also expressed that the department needed more assistance with more technical accounting work that I was not yet qualified for. My hopes and dreams for an extended internship was instantly shut down because it would be more cost-efficient to hire a salary employee that can perform my tasks and more for the same cost; This was definitely explained to me through the use of doubletalk.
Working as the accounting intern at Command Consulting Group has taught me alot about Dr. Demings management diseases and the use of double talk in an organization. The 14 points of Management that is discussed in his book Out of Crisis has allowed me to establish an in-depth analysis on the first 3 management diseases that Command Consulting Group suffered from. The first disease is constancy of purpose which occured when the company failed to improve the inventory valuation method. The second disease is emphasis on short-term profit. Management used this method of approach when placing additional roles on employee’s to save money on salary expenses. The last and final disease took place when management conducted performance evaluations with the hopes of motivating employees to do their best in their position when in actuality it robbed employees of their sense of pride and workmanship. When fully analyzing the organization as a whole, I would recommend to the CEO two things. The first recommendation would be to continue to stay innovative so that business operations run efficiently and maintain value, and the second recommendation is for the CEO to eliminate short-term thinking and introduce long-term planning in order to make long-term profits.
Acquate. “Seven Deadly Diseases of Management.” The W. Edwards Deming Institute, deming.org/explore/seven-deadly-diseases.
Acquate. “Dr. Deming’s 14 Points for Management.” The W. Edwards Deming Institute, deming.org/explore/fourteen-points.