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October 08, 2013

Money and Deming?

Today's class again brought about some interesting views and topics, one of these was instigated by Paul Roberts. He offered the students in today's class a 'reward'; £1000 for the person with the best PMA for our CBE module, and that the person with the lowest mark would be kicked off the course. This created a heated debate. Interestingly, Paul asked one of the students, Ana, who happened to be sitting next to me, whether she would help me or not if the reward of £1000 was not available. Ana said she would help me, then Paul asked again if she would help if the £1000 reward were on offer, and Ana struggled to decide before saying that she would not help me!!! (She later insisted to me that she would help, even if one million pounds were on offer for the best marks in the class!!!).

Anyway, the point this highlights links to one of Demings arguments over competition within an organisation. I thought it was an interesting tactic used by Paul to highlight this. Collectively as a class, we are encouraged to help one another, as it develops ideas and encourages learning from students, as we pick up points of view that we may not have otherwise considered. However, once a compeitive element is added, in the form of financial reward for the most successful student, this idea of helping one another goes largely out the window, as students want to keep their ideas for themselves, in the hope it will ensure that they come out top of the class.

This in a business enviornment, perhaps in the form of financial bonuses or promotion opportunities, could have an extremely negative impact on a businesses' performance, as individuals or seperate departments within an organisation may fight against each other and not help each other out. This is a contrast to the idea of a Learning Organisation, where knowledge is freely shared between different branches and divisions to help achieve maximum efficiency and productivity. This practical experiment by Paul highlighted the negative impact internal competition can have on a group of people. Furthermore it highlights the importance of one of Deming's points that co-operation is needed rather than compeition, as businesses are already competing against rival organisations!

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  • I like your comment Mayo, I did try to listen and engage the people in my team, but what tended to h… by Benjamin Roberts on this entry
  • This is a very beautiful piece of blog ben and i am so glad i bumped into it. Its so sad that we all… by on this entry
  • Ben, thank you for initiating this thread. I feel that it is sad that some people have come to the e… by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • Thanks for you feedback though! I will consider how I work with people in the future and change how … by Benjamin Roberts on this entry
  • That's a valid point you raise and something I have been considering. I acted as the leader in the t… by Benjamin Roberts on this entry

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