Management madness

9 August 2011
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementThe recent release of the movie comedy Horrible Bosses has prompted a wave of related PR and articles focused on the perils of poor management. The main complaints that were outlined in a survey of US workers about their senior managers included annoyance over long lunches, chatting to friends and family over the phone, and planning parties and getaways. However, the study also found that employees’ behaviour was much worse. Apparently, they do more online shopping and social networking than their chiefs. What’s more, they are twice as likely to have had sex while at work.   A laughable offence On the subject of horrible bosses, one procurement director in the US is looking for a new job after a couple of practical jokes he performed at the expense of his employees left his own bosses far from amused. The jolly japes are said to have included playing a trick on a colleague that made him think that he had been fired. The same procurement professional was also alleged to have ill-advisedly signed up one of his (already attached) colleagues to a Russian internet dating site. All of this was done, he claimed, in an attempt to “lighten the spirit” and “build some camaraderie”. Well, I can certainly appreciate how the atmosphere could well have improved now that the joker has been given his marching orders.   Absent without leave With leaders like these, it is perhaps no surprise a third of UK workers have admitted to skiving off work. Disenchantment was the main reason for pulling a sickie, followed by family responsibilities, good weather, hangovers and romance. Some 83 per cent use illness as an excuse, with 5 per cent really putting in the effort, using props such as crutches, fake bandages and make-up. Meanwhile, a serious commitment to method acting is shown by four in 10, who go to the extreme of faking symptoms in the preceeding days before bunking off to build a more convincing case. However, others are not so cunning when it comes to attempts to wangle a day off. Genuine excuses reported included: “I fell out of the loft”, “My rabbit ran away and there were foxes in the area”, and “I was beaten up by a bouncer”.   Working relationships It hasn’t been a great month for the office romance. Earlier in August, psychologists claimed that the prime reason men flirt at work is that they are unhappy, unsatisfied and bored with their jobs. Furthermore, a quarter of men told AskMen’s 2011 Great Male Survey they would only date a female colleague if she was in a junior position to them in the company. However, this news hasn’t put off dating site Zoosk, which is looking to hire software engineers in the US. To encourage applications, it is offering any engineer hired by the end of September the chance to win a date with a star from its latest TV ads (Samantha or Steve), in addition to a round-trip to Los Angeles, including a chauffeur-driven limousine and complementary dinner.   Bridging the cultural divide China’s reputation as the new “workshop of the world” was further enhanced this month, with the completion of its latest infrastructure project – a new bridge to connect San Francisco with Oakland in the US state of California. The span of the bridge has been built in China and will now be shipped to the US to be assembled. However, I can’t help but feel builder-in-chief Zhou Jichang is a little optimistic about his bridge’s potential impact. “When people see it, they will ask, ‘Who built it?’” he said. “The Statue of Liberty is an excellent symbol for America. We are hoping the new San Francisco Bay Bridge, after it is built, will also become a symbolic project.” Of course, the US does have form when it comes to importing bridges. In 1968, London Bridge was bought and rebuilt brick-by-brick in a new location – Lake Havasu City in Arizona.   Tweet of the month @Bazeley – On a con call with procurement specialists I’ve never met. I’m going to talk in a Scottish accent to help me curry favour. ——- ☛ You can follow me on Twitter too – @sainthomobonus
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