• Posted: Nov 25, 2008 19:23:13
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These days advanced societies afford well above average compensation to individuals who demonstrate skill in organizing the efforts of others toward greater efficiencies, higher quality goods and services, increased sales, and the accumulation of usable capital. The size and reach of organizations run by such individuals have gained proportions well beyond anything previously seen in the history of humankind. And so have the size of their compensation packages. One might well ask: is that really fair?
One way to answer the question is to take a look at the quality of uniqueness relative to the overall functioning of the organization. Any individual whose unique contribution, if missing, would cripple the company in some serious way is an individual whose value as measured by compensation might fairly be set high. But surely that is not always the case. Conversely, any individual who can be readily replaced is not likely to be highly compensated. Certain types of managers might actually try to weed out unique actors as a way to increase reliability and bring down the costs of organizational systems. The error in such thinking is that an organization's ability to adapt to changing conditions is then reduced as uniquely knowledgeable and innovative individuals are eliminated.
There are also individuals within large organizations who, though not designated as managers nor compensated as managers, in fact function as both manager and regular worker. They are the autonomous actors, individuals who function largely without supervisors, who cover a wide variety of tasks and functions, who problem solve and innovate and adjust as needed, who interface with customers, mechanical and IT systems, managers and fellow workers alike. They in fact keep everything running and operating smoothly while the rest of us sleep, including all those managers with exceptionally high compensation packages. Yet seldom are such autonomous actors compensated fairly relative to their uniqueness, knowledge, innovation, or reliable contributions to the overall functioning of the organization to which they belong.
Many folks will be looking for work over the coming months, including some of those previously over compensated managers. Wouldn't it be refreshing for all those people to engage a labor market that takes fair measure of their unique and sustaining value to potential employers?
Saturday, September 16th, 2006
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