Crime In Progress

Inspector Guilfoyle has written a long, referenced essay, aptly entitled Crime In Progress, the Impact Of Targets On Police Service Delivery.  Perhaps, he will further develop the crime aspect of the management culture he is criticising.  It is a crime against progress.  Is the endemic maladministatration to be investigated as a state-sponsored protection racket?  In the essay he investigates the harm done by target-setting in the management of policing.  Take note that the principles apply generally.

Some snippets:

“In the public sector, accurate performance measurement is even more problematic. Pollitt (1999) argues that this is because many public service activities are geared towards dealing with variable circumstances that do not lend themselves to producing simple outputs. Caers et al (2006) also argue that unlike the private sector, it can be difficult to measure the outputs generated by public services. Furthermore, it is notoriously difficult to establish a causal link between a specific activity and an eventual outcome

“In both the public and private sectors, a further consideration relevant to performance measurement is the cost involved in setting up and maintaining the system. (Pidd, 2005) Both internal and external performance measurement systems involve additional processes, overheads and staff. This has the effect of building in additional cost to the original activity and risks generating a burdensome and disproportionate audit and inspection culture. Power (1996) observes that such regimes have proliferated to such an extent in recent years that he has coined the term ‘The Audit Explosion.’

Not only does audit and inspection increase costs in financial terms, but there is the very real consequence of human cost, in terms of damage to morale and strained relationships. Clarke (2003) for example, notes the effect on morale, pointing out that the “…high cost / low trust mix…” of a “…competitive, intrusive and interventionist mode of scrutiny creates potentially antagonistic relationships”. (2003, pp.153-154) Argyris (1964) warns that control through performance measurement can be counterproductive, especially in the case of those individuals who are predisposed to work hard, as it can adversely affect motivation and lower productivity. Western (2007), drawing on Weber (1930, 1947) also warns of the damage to morale and the dehumanizing effects of Taylorist methodology.” 

(Emphasis added)

However, in pathology, measuring performance is only a minor part of the ISO management culture.  The important target here is to perfectly document that you are maintaining ever-decreasing circles of records.  This in itself cannot improve the performance of tests or service. 

This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Cartel, Forensic science, Laboratory medicine, Management, Practical problems and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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