Why do managers outsource their workforce?
Do you really want to know?
It’s because they are afraid..
If you read the literature and studies you get another answer: you get a given one and one that is being denied. The answer that is being denied is: to reduce cost.
Reducing costs is not the aim. It is to achieve flexibility.That is the given answer.
What is flexibility?
It is the ability to reduce or increase the workforce when there is a need. And it is needed to deal with costs and ultimately: to reduce costs.. It is the public secret.
In the end the given answer lead to the denied one. It is all about the money.
But that is just one part of the tale.
Here is the other.
Companies are run by managers. Managers operate in uncertain situations. They have to make decisions that can have serious repercussions for them and others. The bigger the company and the higher the manager, the bigger the stakes.The bigger the stakes.. the harder the fall.
Managers have to deal with uncertainty, just like you and me.. And like you and me they do not like uncertainty. Like you and me they want to live in the comfort zone where we feel safe.
To deal with this uncertainty and live in the comfort zone they want to gain control of the world around them and to gain control they parametrize. The world of the manager is a world of numbers and figures called Key Performance Indicators(KPI) and they are presented in spreadsheets.
This fear goes double for the IT manager.
The world of information technology is in a constant flux. New things pop up, old things are left behind. Companies that were on top, crash to their doom, new companies pop into existence.And sometimes a company rises up from the depth because a driven capable man takes the helm and surrounds himself with capable people.. Apple is an example.
If you think your IT workforce has a hard time keeping up.. this goes double for the IT managers. Most have no clue what their workforce are on about or what IT stuff means. Big data, tiered storage strata, cloud provisioning, Saas, Paas It is to them mostly gibberish. What does it means when addressing costs? How can we do the same for less money? It is the internal secret knowledge of a group of magicians.
That is not bad.. it’s the way things work. Managers rely on key people to provide them with knowledge: their staff or those managers that report to them. And it is for the next manager in line to take this knowledge and do something with it. And often this is just presenting it to the next manager in line.
As a higher manager confided: we(high management) just present the cake, (even) higher management cuts it.
The higher the manager is up the ladder, the more global his decisions are, the less he or she knows about the details. But details matter in the IT world. If you do not know what IT does or can do, you have a hard time to make the right decisions. You need to keep up with the technology to do that..
But managers do not have the time nor do they want to know about the details.
So how to deal with this?
Have outsiders take care of the things you do not understand.
And now the manager is back in his comfort zone: contracts, service levels, performance indicators and spreadsheets. That is the world he understands. The world he does not fear: hard figures and legalities.
And there is another reason. Like any human they have a hard time dealing with other humans. The others.
The manager lives in his world and the higher up he is, the less he knows about his people.
Few managers that have like one or two managers between them and the workforce talk to their people on a regular basis. Especially in large companies. Managers live usually separated from the normal workforce..like the emperor of Japan was shielded from his own people. A golden cage.
It is the hierarchy that separates management from the workforce. Not intentionally or consciously.
If you want to see a nice example of how this works.. go and watch the movie the Sun by Alexander Sokurov(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_%28film%29).
Once I worked for a company in which a group of employers presented their own vision on a certain key decision. The managers were generally surprised that their employers were actually capable in doing that. It was chilling to notice how they were so caught up in their own world that they couldn’t conceive the idea that people who were not managers could actually present a coherent idea.
It’s not that these people think they are superior.. or even thing the workforce are stupid..It’s because they are socialized in that way of thinking.
So what do you think?
Is this nonsense.. do you think it’s valid?
Perhaps you like to comment or set me straight.
Well that is where comments are for.