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Welcome to the Work And How To Survive It podcast brought to you by Thinking Space Consultancy

In episode 3 we discuss the article by Tim Dartington called In Defence of Inefficiency.

In this podcast we explore Dartington's arguments about the limitations of efficiency - in particular how professional judgement and leadership are potentially excluded by an emphasis on following procedures for decision-making. He argues that workers inevitably end up orientating themselves towards the procedures, and the management monitoring systems that accompany these, rather than to the actual effectiveness of their actions.

He argues that those workers with a therapeutic task - whose work can only take place on the basis on establishing trusting relationships with clients - are undermined by systems of inspection that do not trust either the worker or the client. He highlights a trend which has lead to "a shift in emphasis from doing the right thing to doing things right (e.g. a shift from leadership to management and from effectiveness to efficiency". We give several examples in the podcast, both from the paper and from our consulting experience, to illustrate this argument.

He asserts that we need to have apparently non-productive times - what Bion called reverie and which we call thinking space - in order to allow for the possibility of new thoughts and ideas to emerge rather than repeating one's actions according to existing routines.

Related Links:

Reference for the article discussed: Tim Dartington  In Defence of Inefficiency  Organisational & Social Dynamics 4(2) 298-310 (2004)

It is possible to subscribe to the  Organsiational & Social Dynamics Journal via the Karnac Books website:

Link to Tim Dartington's website:

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