Business for the 21st Century: Towards Simplicity and Trust by François Dupuy (auth.)

By François Dupuy (auth.)

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Locally, as one manager put it, people felt management had applied the ‘logic of rape’. It is worth noting that this term is as violent as those used in the preceding cases, even though the working environment here was a politer one, in appearance at least. As we have seen, added to this was the fact that senior management was now geographically distant, creating a sense of anxiety given that the founding father used to live locally. One can readily understand the feeling gradually rising to the surface: that business We Have Let Work ‘Slip’ 37 was going badly (this sector of the furniture industry had been hard hit by the recent economic and financial crisis) and that the site had been left to its own devices by this absentee management – which in any case seemed more preoccupied by its own internal squabbles than by the need to deal with the real problems.

Similarly, this clumsy approach to questions of pay brought together two groups that had hitherto ignored and consequently distrusted 38 Business for the 21st Century each other, and that had formerly envied each other, on the strength of second-hand tittle-tattle no one had ever bothered to verify. The ‘makers’ and the ‘logistics crowd’ (the plant’s two main activities) were united by the same fears, and money matters kindled the fire by giving concrete substance to their deep-seated if diffuse anxieties.

By now, the reader can see how this tale is going to end, or at least what comes next. Management had ‘let slip’ its control over its workforce to the point where a return to a more ‘normal’ situation by authoritarian means looked unlikely. On the other hand, it might be tempted to relieve the pressure and increase its ‘autonomy’ vis-à-vis a factor over which it had long since abandoned control. There were two possibilities, for example, which it had begun to explore at the time of the study. One was to intensify the computerization of its order preparation process – there was no major technological obstacle to this.

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