Beyond bureaucracy: Implementing Six Sigma

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    • 00:11

      TYRONE PITSIS: So Stewart, managingand particularly managing organizationsoften means bureaucracy.And bureaucracy isn't necessarily a bad thing.In fact, it's very important to get things done.

    • 00:26

      STEWART CLEGG: It can be a good thing,in certain circumstances, yeah.

    • 00:29

      TYRONE PITSIS: Absolutely.But it's interesting, all the different toolsused to manage and control.We see Total Quality Management, move onto Six Sigma.We say things like lean-- you know, lean had its heydayand started to be used in health.Fortunately, people have started to discover

    • 00:50

      TYRONE PITSIS [continued]: that's not the right way to go.

    • 00:52

      STEWART CLEGG: Sure.

    • 00:53

      TYRONE PITSIS: Some still hold onto the old ideas of lean.But essentially, we see a continuing relianceon these sorts of things, like Six Sigma.

    • 01:04

      STEWART CLEGG: Six Sigma's an interesting one.I mean, it's a weird mixture of very standard total qualitymanagement statistical control, doing variance analysis,trying to minimize error mixed upwith all this weird stuff about different colored beltsand rituals.

    • 01:25

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: I mean, it's almost like a bit of freemasonrymixed with statistics, you know?

    • 01:29

      TYRONE PITSIS: Martial arts and freemasonry.

    • 01:30

      STEWART CLEGG: I find it quite strange.Jack Welch loved it.I mean, he introduced it to GE because GE werea widely respected company.It became very fashionable, and lots and lots of organizationsstill do it.I'm probably not a great fan-- I'm definitely nota great fan of Six Sigma.It seems to me to focus far too much on what you already do

    • 01:53

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: and to focus attention on doing what you alreadydo better and better and better with less and less error,instead of thinking about alternative thingsthat you might be doing, or alternative waysof doing things.When I think about some of the stuff that's in our book,like the stress on double loop learning,the stress on organization, creativity, and innovation--

    • 02:16

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: well, these things seem to me to be elements of practice thatwould be minimized or even eliminated by followinga strict Six Sigma approach.I think unless you are actually involved in a very, verybulk standard mass manufacturing program,

    • 02:36

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: you are producing some widget whichyou think the market will never change--I think if you think the market will never change,you're probably wrong.Creative destruction, Schumpeter's ideaof creative destruction can destroy markets, probablymost likely when you don't expect them to,when you don't suspect do.So I think to introduce Six Sigma

    • 02:57

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: into an organization is probably to producea sense of false confidence, which is not really warranted.Far better to think about doing different things differently,than to keep on doing the same thing in the same way,only with less error.

    • 03:14

      TYRONE PITSIS: If not Six Sigma, if not lean, if not, then what?

    • 03:19

      STEWART CLEGG: Hm.That's a good question.I think you shouldn't put your faith in false idols.And I think all of these very fashionable managementtechniques, often the result of consulting pressure.

    • 03:41

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: They don't have any theoretical or empirical evidencebehind them.There's no evidence for Six Sigma,it's just one of those fashions which has spread like wildfire.I would rather look at the things whichhave had some testing, some theoretical development,some significance.Now, I'm not going to say, look, theory x or theory y,

    • 04:06

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: I'm not going to say which approach one should use.In that sense, perhaps the contingency theoristsare onto something.One approach will never fit all.Going for best practice is a rather naive thing,because the best practice is always contingent.It's contingent on the circumstances

    • 04:28

      STEWART CLEGG [continued]: in which the organization finds itself,its size, its technology, its environment, and so on.So I think probably I would arguefor a well-considered contingent approach, backed upby some knowledge of the management literature--surprisingly.

    • 04:46

      TYRONE PITSIS: Surprisingly?

    • 04:47

      STEWART CLEGG: Yes.

Beyond bureaucracy: Implementing Six Sigma

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Abstract

Professors Stewart Clegg and Tyrone Pitsis analyze Six Sigma and other management control schemes. They review whether any one system provides worthwhile, evidence-driven proof for their practices or if it is all hot-air and fashionable nonsense.

Beyond bureaucracy: Implementing Six Sigma

Professors Stewart Clegg and Tyrone Pitsis analyze Six Sigma and other management control schemes. They review whether any one system provides worthwhile, evidence-driven proof for their practices or if it is all hot-air and fashionable nonsense.

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