Report on Government Services 2014 - Productivity Commission - volume E - Health due for publication Thursday 30 January 2014 Will cover: Public hospitals Primary and community health Mental health...
Barbara Lond's insight:
I have heard some reports anecdotally echoing worry about fewer jobs for people. I have to say, from what I know, experience, and hear, there are jobs to be had, but many organisations lack cultures, structures and mindsets to see the opportunities. Many people are fixed in their own way of thinking. And/or protecting their own positions. What I think is missing is creative and innovating thinking, emotional resilience to cope with change, based on a kind of narcisism and egocentrity. But maybe the changes won't lead to completely losing a job?? We have plenty of opportunities in terms of problems to solve in the world, and new technologies coming board. I think many leaders are not familiar with technology to understand, and may listen to the cries of technology taking over. When it may take a whole new workforce to understand the new organisational realities (as well as, as this article points out, in health, technology to assist people staying at home), learn and develop the new technology to make things happen. Many leaders are myopic. We need more curious leaders, not just the transformational behaviours. Leaders that want to learn and are agile enough to change. I see this as a major block to economic recovery. These are only hunches; some of it based on experience and what I see, some on what others see and hear (anecdotal), some based on research. From what I see, we have young, trendy pockets of 'techs' sitting outside of organisations and leaders not knowing how to engage with them, and vice versa. In a nutshell.
Sociologist Patrick Sharkey proves a mother’s insecure upbringing harms her child as surely as a neighbor’s broken window.
Barbara Lond's insight:
Barbara Lond's insight:
I'm scooping this across 3 of my subject areas: Psychology and Home, Governance and Leadership, People & Organisational Psychology. The reasons is that there are implications for individuals, governments, schools, diversity practitioners, as there are macro and what I would term 'meta' issues here (think 'joined up working' many public sectors across the globe bang on about).
This scoop is highlighting the multigenerational effects of poverty, but also the environmental factors that affect IQ. I've put below here some key findings.
"-multigenerational exposure to concentrated poverty is more dangerous than current exposure will also become a truism.
-Sharkey has made it suddenly intuitive to recognize that women raised in stressful, violent, and insecure environments will find it more difficult to develop in their own children the confidence and trust to explore the knowledge and experience necessary for healthy development.
-... argument of this book forces us to acknowledge that the results of efforts to improve the environments of today’s children may not be fully understood or evaluated until we can observe the performance of these children’s children."
I was speaking to a high profile civil servants only last week and I was asking what was a major factor influencing deprivation, use of social services. The answer was IQ. I of course know\knew there are/would be other factors; I wanted to ask someone on the ground how their policies were being informed (it was not the UK I might add where I live).
We need to take action. But as I always we need to understand first before we change anything. But as usual, it looks like some countries are taking action based on poor 'research' (the IQ finding was done by a 'research unit' I was told) without really understanding what they are doing.
The Dilemma of Closeness and Distance: A Discursive Analysis of Wall Posting in MySpace
Barbara Lond's insight:
I'm a fan/practitioner of qualitative research, and a psychologist, as well as interested in social media. This research is interesting and here is the author:
Dr. Lewis GOODINGS is a lecturer in social psychology at Roehampton University. His research is dedicated to the area of computer-mediated communication from a qualitative perspective. Dr. GOODINGS uses a constructionist approach to new forms of online communication and is interested in classic notions of identity, community and the self. He is currently working on developing an approach to new forms of social media, including social network sites and other new forms of communication mediums. He is also interested in the broader social dynamics of technology, discourse and organisation from a social psychological viewpoint.
As a psychologist (& other things), and mediator (& just started Phd in Mediation & Conflict Resolution) (& other course), with much experience of 'dysfunctional organisations', interested to read this article by Malory Nye in the Huffington Post UK. I am highlighting this bit:
"... most of our images of PTSD come from much more ‘obvious’ and dramatic causes of such shock ... we are most likely to think of the soldiers in Afghanistan ... In the cases of PTSD at work, then the obvious examples are of fire-fighters, on-patrol police officers, and other emergency workers who have had near death shocks in extreme circumstances. Each of these clearly are people who may be suffering from PTSD."
The article cites 2 cases (both in the NHS) of bullying where the victim was diagnosed with severe PTSD (one was a consultant doctor) with payouts of £4.2M and £0.9M respectively. Apart from the cost and apart from, as the article says, the circumstances which led to a claim being able to be made (whereas in others, there may still be abuse, but without the legal requirements to bring a claim), workplace abuse is/could be quite rife. I see/have seen the mobbing behaviour quite quickly arise in a course, and also on fora where the aim of the course/group is supposed to be one where the people involved are professional people people (PPP!), where dignity and respect are part of code of conduct norms. So imagine what it's like where there is no 'invisible' (moral?) requirement for this? Added to this, all the stress of daily living. I sympathise with those/you who are reading this and who may be suffering in silience. Don't.
Many 'stress' programs focus on the individual. This is important, but organisation cultures need to change. Stress programs focus on the individual as being the problem. This may be the case, and resilience training may help. But this is really a 'governance' issue also in my humble opinion, which I was tweeting about earlier this morning.
(And yes, before anyone comments (and of course you can!), mediation is generally not appropriate for workplace bullying, for all sorts of reasons. Email me if you want to on email@example.com).
Glassdoor's third annual ranking of the top companies featuring the most difficult job interview places consulting firm McKinsey & Company at the top of the list.
Barbara Lond's insight:
So how do these daft interviews work then in terms of being 'valid'? I'm saying daft, because some of them are. That's more like trying to show the interviewee how clever you are. It's just daft. However, I am open to have my mind change. They could demonstrate quick thinking, but are these interviews validated? Do they know how to do this and why they should do it? Why don't they just use what research predicts will work, or at least have some raison-d-tere for their use. What about cultural issues? I wonder if any evaluations are done? I guess they must do something. Maybe not. Why, why, why?
Broken NHS and banking cultures ‘need awkward voices to change’
Barbara Lond's insight:
It's all very well talking about 'change', 'diversity'. All this talk and rhetoric is no replacement for understanding fully this complex situation, and taking action. It's not just about getting more women into senior positions. firstname.lastname@example.org
A) Take the harder edges off work B) Make better selection decisions C) Get a handle on emotion and mood in the workplace D) People differ (so now what?) E) Attract and keep the right people for your workplace F) Manage perceptions, focus attention G) Working together
The pace of everyday life and the ubiquity of media make multitasking a common part of daily existence for many. And while new research suggests multitasking
Barbara Lond's insight:
As a psychologist, I'm in the business of how humans behave, whether that's at home, work, community, etc. My focus today was on 'productivity', bearing in mind this is a key issues for many countries.
I'd say I'm also in the business of finding research which I might find useful. So this study, although done with students working at home(?), it does have implications for the workplace. I think it also has implications for our obsession with 'happiness', has implications for 'coaching' and also self-development.
This study reports researching using multitasking (eg. new research suggests multitasking can be stimulating and fun), which finds that although people enjoy this, multitasking is not productive and hinders cognitive performance.
The article also points out that
“There’s this myth among some people that multitasking makes them more productive,” (Zheng Wang, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.)
My other point is that this is from the discipline of 'communication' (not HR, not psychology), but has implications for the workplace.
I think psychologists can interpret reserch for organisations in ways that can provide valuable insight into human behaviour in the workplace, analysing research evidence.
There are plenty of blogs out there that bang on about goodness knows what. But we need to get better at recognising gobbledygook from real research.
Now my other point is 'data', or 'big data', related to research. And I saw another article (CIPD survey research) proposing that the NHS will improve if they use data. But as with the so-called 'new' focus on 'data', research skills (knowing what data to collect and, in the context of the NHS, having the capability and capacity to collect whatever relevant data they need, but also having an effective MI system). I worry about these 'survey' research articles, from a high profile organisation, used by the NHS, without really understanding the incredible complexty of 'performance' (which is what we are talking about) in the NHS. When the NHS 'fails', it is a catastrophe. Understanding this complexity is vital, and the NHS must understand that relevant outsiders (with an objective view) is vital to bringing in new and fresh ideas. I'm guessing with the pressure on the NHS to 'perform', 'sound bites' of survey research may be taken on board, especially if presented by a credible-looking person, who's been doing work with the NHS. I will leave you to guess what kind of person I might be talking about.
In a related article I 'scooped' fairly recently, I also wondered about the UK skills shortage. I have to say, my suspisions were confirmed by, I will say, not very scientific research that it's not so much a skills shortage, but people either liking/not really liking the person (some recruiters call this 'fit').
Whole organisations have 'systems' that run like this - ie. they are not a system that works. But at least the manager likes you.
Apply this type of 'recruitment' and 'assessment' ('I like you') to the likes of the NHS, oil and gas sector, other sectors where 'failures' (of organisational systems) lead to catastrophe, where the person not liked, is shouted at, 'bullied' (in all sorts of ways to 'performance-manage' them out).
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the leading global measure of sustainable well-being. The HPI measures what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them.
The communications gap can be wide between the CIO and the board but the right information will give IT leaders a voice at the executive table, says executive mentor Christina Gillies.
Barbara Lond's insight:
This is interesting and follows on from last 'scoop'. Now, I've always said that the 'IT dept' is often cut off from the board, and that the board just don't know, or want to look 'stupid' (ask questions?) about 'IT' as they don't understand. So imagine that culture throughout the whole organisation. Every organisation! How have the board got there? Well, they are mainly men (and no, I'm not against men - honestly - I'm married to one!), they are probably 'aggressive', 'tough', but probably also 'defensive', 'authoritarian', 'arrogant'. Yes, I'm making assumptions here, but it's backed up by research, and more importantly, the consequences of this. Poorly performing organisations. Lack of purpose, lack of knowledge, poor leaders (the 'Snakes in the Grass') with (among other things) poor insight, poor reception to feedback.
Here is another part from the article attached:
To understand the board, CIOs should think like the board, Gillies said.
Board directors do not have an IT background and largely base their IT knowledge on the what they read in the media. Also, they hear the most about the IT department when there is an outage, she said.
“How would you behave in the boardroom?” she asked. Often, directors go into “react mode,” demanding papers about what’s being done about the latest outage and seeking detailed tracking of new projects, she said.
Well, I think this is good advice. However, the board needs to change also. Realise they need to change, want to change. But do they?
The government has announced banking reforms including jail sentences for reckless bankers alongside other measures to improve protection for consumers.
Barbara Lond's insight:
This article states: "Cultural reform in the banking sector marks the next step in the government’s plan to move the whole sector from rescue to recovery and ensure that UK banks demonstrate the highest standards."
This will be interesting to watch. The issue though is, because the banking and monetary system is so complex and interdependencies exist, and (certainly in the UK) the culture of banking is incredibly 'masculine', with 'masculine' values rewarded and elitist [and I mean elitist in terms of 'social class' not excellence, which is another definition of elitism. UK culture?] (based on my own, and other academic research, for example, some reseach from Leicester states:
"... The authors of [their] study use the term ’economic violence‘ to describe a style of leadership based on threatening employees with redundancy and forcing them to meet aggressive sales targets.This led to the destruction of the company as individuals became embroiled in a battle for status against leaders of rival financial institutions that distracted them from severe problems within their own bank, according to the research published in the journal Organization Studies.
The ongoing study charting the rise and fall of RBS provides an alternative explanation for the failure of the bank, based on the disciplines of management and social science rather than solely economics. ...
“A management culture of overt economic violence within RBS’ Scottish headquarters translated into the cultural capital that management would use in their battles for power in the City of London”, suggests Sarah Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Management and Organisation Studies ... “Competition among banking leaders for legitimacy within the field triggered irrational behaviour, which contributed to the financial crisis.”
and this, from the same Leicester University study:
"Fighting the English elite
The researchers begin by showing how the traditional old guard of Scottish banking, educated at elite public schools and Oxbridge, were supplanted as the top executives by ‘modernisers’ from more humble backgrounds. They go on to say these old school executives at RBS had retained power by relying on ’symbolic violence’. The expression, coined by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, which means the creation by leaders of the belief among those they lead, that the subordinate position is just and natural.
However, within RBS the modernisers instead wielded what the authors call ’economic violence’ to acquire and retain their leading role – a variation on Bourdieu’s 'symbolic violence'. This meant a form of leadership that operated through the threat of destroying people’s economic power by laying them off or forcing them to meet aggressive sales targets. RBS executives’ reputation for economic violence counted as ‘capital’ in the City of London."
So in terms of the original article I scooped, it will be interesting to see how performance will be rewarded as well, considering the history of the culture of banking in the UK. I do however feel that many organsations operate in this way, with aggressive management styles the norm, regardless of context.
This really needs to be a very indepth cultural change effort and very interesting to see how it pans out, bearing in mind the history the culture of management, hierarchy, elitism (as class, not necessarily competence) in the UK which has led to this.
I think also, and this is why I mean it may be a culture of 'business' in the UK, this complete focus ONLY on profit is also damaging. The reputation of 'business' (which we can't do without, can we?) has suffered as a result and I for one am fed up with getting a raw deal with many businesses from small to large, and not just banks. It's amazing, still, the old-fashioned 'hard sell' approach still prevails, knowing full well I've been conned again! I could name names. But I won't. I've written a tweet direct to the very well-known proprietor with no response.
I really do think the UK is way behind/blind/defensive (leadership?) in how they run organisations, maybe being too complacent for the last decades. Maybe. I've just seen some data which supports my view, and it's only about one single process (which ALL organisations use), where Indian and Brazil are WAY ahead). So it's not just a matter of our local natural resources. I also note that UK businesses may be rubbish at collaborating. That was at a leading event, where the consequences were very obvious in terms of UK exports.
Organisations to build on their strengths for sure. But also take the blinkers off and see the wood for the trees.
"In Adam Smith's world the invisible hand was a wonderful force, and the fact it was invisible made no difference whatsoever. The irrational invisible hand is a different story altogether - here we must identify the ways in which irrationality plays tricks on us and make the invisible".
This is interesting too. Who is more susceptible to these 'invisible' forces? Certainly the recent 'slavery' case talks of 'invisible handcuffs'.
Barts Health NHS Trust is axing or downgrading more than 600 nursing posts in an “efficiency drive” across its six hospitals before Christmas.
Barbara Lond's insight:
This article quotes, "The trust now has more than 1,600 vacancies ... But it insisted it would “not compromise” on safety, saying the number of nurses on wards would exceed RCN’s guidelines.", and "... it would not compromise on safety, saying the number of nurses on wards would exceed RCN's guidelines", and further "that [owing to the downgrades/axing] staff are angry, distressed, and demoralised". A news story I know, but probably right about how the staff feel. I'm curious (once again, I know it's only a news story) how a spokesperson for Barts said that the wards number would exceed the RCN's guidelines and the safety aspect, and if true, would highlight some naivety around 'safety' - this is not a transaction process - if the organisation is affected by a large number of cuts/downsizing, and this is not handled effectively, then it doesn't really matter how many staff you have, it's likely to affect the whole organisation and its performance. If it really is true (the quote), then I would advise Barts to think seriously again. It looks more like a reactive change to the inspections by the CQC?? Hardly a recipe for an effective safety culture. www.riskybusiness.theblcgroup.co.uk
One of the key management challenges in managing sales is implementing and leveraging a CRM system to manage prospects, sales activities, pipeline, track campaigns, and assignment of tasks to sales team members, and sales forecasting.
Barbara Lond's insight:
A good CRM is really vital for a process-intensive one such as sale. So is knowing which KPIs and how to manage them. This is a good example of poor recruitment, poor development, poor leadership, poor/no systems, resistance to change (to a CRM system) and must be happening all over place. I am not sure the 'employees' are entirely to blame* (as the heading suggests), but the process of the organisation. It's also once again a demonstration of skills over knowledge, and how we need both. As well as as systems to implement. Improvement in these areas will/could lead to higher productivity, higher job satisfaction, higher engagement. J
*Maybe they were 'made' dysfunction as a result of the above?
Just a simple analysis/view with some merit I feel.
I've been using this resource for years. It's so invaluable for all sorts of things, including competency mapping (starting point), JD (starting point). I haven't looked at it for a while, but I see that now as it's really developed to include occupational outlook. It's only a US-based resource.
Social science may be faring better politically in UK than US, says Ziyad Marar, but let's avoid complacency at all costs (RT @ZiyadMarar: My new article on Guardian HE announces our campaign to defend #socialscience funding
Industrial and organizational psychology (also known as I-O psychology or work psychology) is the scientific study of employees, workplaces, and organizations. Industrial and organizational psychologists contribute to an organization's success by improving the performance, satisfaction, safety, health and well-being of its employees. An I-O psychologist conducts research on employee behaviors and attitudes, and how these can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, feedback, and management systems. I-O psychologists also help organizations transition among periods of change and development. Industrial and organizational psychology is related to organizational behavior and human capital.
As you can see, I-O psychologists, is the 'scientific study of employees, workplaces and organisations'.
I am looking for interns and experienced associates in any of these areas.
Also looking for management consultant interns and trainees, and interns for market research, research, business development, digital marketing, digital communication, website enhancement, SEO, cross-cultural communications.
I was googling 'Social Rank Theory' for more information and found this interesting study.
It's a study using neurimaging to see how the brain behaves (and making interpretations of how people will/might) behave with others. It also states:
"While the empirical understanding of the behavioral manifestations of social rank in various social strata ... is speculative, the link between a particular rank status and deleterious health outcomes is clear for subordinates ... and highest ranking dominants'.
So our brains recognise and interpret social status and rank-related information.
What I'm interested in, can/does counselling/coaching, anything, change this? I've had this idea now for a long time, even looking to see how I can use MRI scanning with coaching (I think at the time I needed to be a radiologist).
That's what I like about the internet - you search for something, and come up with something even more interesting.
Change management is fundamentally flawed, according to Diane Dromgold, managing director at project delivery firm, RNC Global.
Barbara Lond's insight:
I wholeheartedly agree with this, could have written it myself. There are 2 major issues:
1. Who is doing the work
2. The purpose of the the work
I'm always surprised that change management is solely an 'IT' function. In addition, organisations don't know their purpose. So this raises the issue of knowledge and leadership, and also purpose. This article says there are thousands that 'don't know their job', and 'They don't know that their purpose is get information to flow through the organisation and out the other end'.
I think what is happening is too many assumptions, for one thing. Assumptions made about people - 'people don't want to change'. It's the stock answer that people come up with when talking about 'change'. It's how the organisation goes about change. I'm now going to copy and paste and email I have just received, with the following in it (it was offering sales training):
"I was recently completing some sales consulting work with a financial institution when it suddenly struck me that most organisations simply do not know their purpose for doing business! Now you might think that to be strange, but it is true! There were the top directors of the company and not one of them could tell me what their company philosophy was. Sure, things like "Make money", "Sell products" and "Delight our customers" came out but these are just generalisations that EVERY company wants."
Well, no, it doesn't surprise me in the last. Not exactly scientific or a good 'sample', but combined with my extensive experience in organisations, as well as general chit-chat, a lot of things just aren't working. And a lot of the time - well, lots of things. Not thinking, and people making assumptions, or wrong opinions (from 'authoritarians'), are just some of the issues in organisations which has resulted in people not knowing their purpose for a start, or knowledge about the work. And in my vast experience, asking questions is a big no-no - you might look a bit stupid.
So as I pointed out yesterday, it's not just financial services, it's many organisations. And as I also pointed out in other posts, and also in my experience, organisations are just or have been too complacent, or even know what to do. Put into that a culture of not being able to ask questions, then what do you expect. If they can't get the basics right in terms of purpose, then nothing else from that position works!
If every organisation tomorrow developed their 'leaders', or at least dealt with issues instead of saying, 'oh you know, it's just Bob, it's just how he does things', thought about their purpose, actually lived and breathed it (even just a little), it doesn't actually take that much, or cost that much, it would be a big start. We all rely organisations to know their purpose and do their jobs. I am certainly finding through being a customer that organisations are just not doing their jobs right. And it's stressful for me, I have to say. Private and public organisations. Goodness knows others get on.