Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"Threatening to Fire Workers Doesn’t Make Them More Productive" (but here's what does)

Our old pal, random positive reinforcement.

A couple reposts, first up November 2010's:
Okay, Enough With Politics: Attention Managers, You Can Improve Corporate Efficiency by Randomly Promoting Employees
It sounds like a Dilbert strip but it's true.
From the abstract at Physics arXiv:
The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study
...Here we show, by means of agent based simulations, that if the latter two features actually hold in a given model of an organization with a hierarchical structure, then not only is the Peter principle unavoidable, but also it yields in turn a significant reduction of the global efficiency of the organization.

Within a game theory-like approach, we explore different promotion strategies and we find, counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence. 
Here is the paper presented at Econophysics Colloquium 2009 (55 page PDF)...MORE
And another from January 2014:
Correctly Assuming Guilt, Deutsche Bank to Randomly Suspend Traders During Various Probes

Arbitrary and capricious.
That's the ticket.