Tim Jones (University Hospital Birmingham) recently drew the CLAHRC WM Director’s attention to a 2005 paper by Oxman et al. published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, which he feels you might enjoy. Unlike previous Director’s Choices, this paper does not reveal a counter-intuitive result or refute a long-held theory; instead it shows how revealing humour can be, poking fun at evidence-free management theory and the jargon that covers up this “empirical vacuum”. Some examples:
“We discovered that the literature is almost impenetrable due to creative jargon and the meaningless terminology generated by a variety of cults adhering to different beliefs and led by competing gurus.”
“We identified several over-lapping reasons for reorganizations, including money, revenge, money, elections, money… and no apparent reason at all.”
Of course the Director was reminded of the old refrain:
“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganised. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organising, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.” – Charlton Ogburn (1957)
— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director
- Oxman AD, Sackett DL, Chalmers I, Prescott TE. A surrealistic mega-analysis of redisorganization theories. J R Soc Med. 2005; 98: 563-8.