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Heir to Enlightenment, or Why You Need Sociology to Understand Management

April 25, 2014

The rule of optimization, which allows management to judge whatever work, planning, prospecting, or investing is suboptimal, is a direct heir to the Enlightenment’s rule of reason. Just as the Enlightenment’s message was to scrutinize human practices, beliefs, and ideas for a lack of reason, management’s message is concerned with diagnosing deficits. In both cases, deficits are spelt out without necessarily telling anybody what to do to remedy them. To find out how to handle your affairs more reasonably and optimize your work is completely up to you as long as your efforts prove successful. And rest assured that whatever you do, both the enlightened intellectual and the trained manager will find some matters still lacking in reason and still suboptimal. At the same time, it can be unmercifully easy and shrewd to point out an unreasonable belief in tradition or a still suboptimal routine. The shrewdness consists in leaving the answer to the problem to the people plagued by it. There is possibly no better way to manage, i.e. control, processes of self-organisation.


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