This blog on Organisational Entropy came to my attention this morning and I thought it made very interesting reading and was worth sharing.
I have to confess that I felt obliged to look up the word "entropy" and was glad I did, because it actually prompted me to challenge something that I was inclined initially to go along with. Now I don't want to simply repeat my original comment here, for, as you may see from that, I challenge the concept of "unavailable energy" that forms the gist of the argument.
I do, however, feel the point is worth expanding, as well as, (hopefully) conveying to a wider audience. You see the piece opens with the words, "Organized systems want to operate with the lowest level of energy expenditure possible; it seems to be the natural state not only of living organisms but of our human organizational creations as well." The first part of the sentence is presented as fact and I certainly do not have the scientific knowledge to suggest that it is anything but. However, I would challenge the second part, not because it may not be true, but because I believe it is not a state of affairs that should be blindly accepted - at least not in so far as it applies to human energy.
You see, it is a tacit admission - and ACCEPTANCE - of the fact that people will do the bare minimum of what they are employed to do. This is not acceptable for two very good reasons. Both are time related, but they are in fact very different.
Firstly, an employment contract is a legally binding agreement that implicitly requires the employee to do their best. Unlike other costs which can vary according to situation, business need etc., the employment contract is time based and generally commits the employee to work a defined amount of time in any given period for a defined wage. This itself may, arguably, be an antiquated historic precedent that is no longer relevant in the modern workplace, but nevertheless the concept underpins work practice, and, theoretically at least, it demands consistent effort on the part of the employee. The employer thus will not knowingly or willingly enter into a deal that condones operating at "the lowest level of energy expenditure possible," but will expect, and be quite entitled to expect the highest level of human energy output possible. Indeed they may regard anything less as a breach of contract. Regardless of the practicalities of measuring the human energy expended, the very concept runs counter to the assumption.
Secondly, the amount of time that an employee spends at work is a contribution of his/her human life to his/her employer. The physical impossibility of being in two places at once, even if s/he is the best multi-tasker under the sun, makes this an irrefutable fact. Consequently, both employer and employee should be endeavouring to optimise the use of this time: the employee because anything less is a waste of their potential and their allotted life, and the employer because there is a moral requirement to respect that fact. Consequently, it should be in the interests of both parties NOT to minimise the human energy expended.
The energy is available, and therefore its non-usage, constitutes waste not entropy, and, as all my regular readers know, this 'human economic waste' is what I am fighting!