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Innovation Withers With Too Much Supervision

Tuesday, December 03, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Productivity Rises When Workers Aren’t Watched

 

Harvard Business School professor Ethan Bernstein found that Chinese manufacturing employees were more innovative, more efficient and up to 10-15 percent more productive when their bosses weren’t watching them, the Washington Post reports. In Bernstein’s study, Chinese-born Harvard undergrads trained in qualitative research were embedded with workers in a factory that produces mobile devices. The researchers found that when managers were watching, the workers did everything by the book. But when they thought they were not being watched, employees used and shared tactics of their own design that were faster and often safer than the prescribed methods. They also explained to the Harvard observers that it was more efficient to solve problems on the spot by themselves than to try and get management to change company mandated methods. Bernstein’s paper, "The Transparency Paradox: A Role for Privacy in Organizational and Operational Control” was published in the Administrative Science Quarterly." Read the Washington Post column "Stop Watching Your Workers” by Jena McGregor


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