‘Romeinse slavenhouders waren de eerste managementtheoretici’

Subtiele satire van Jerry Toner:

Above all, the story shows how comfortable the Romans were with leadership and command. They believed that there is a world of difference between having the organisational skills to run a unit and actually being able to lead it. By contrast modern managers are often uncomfortable with being promoted above their staff. I worked in a large corporation for a decade and I had numerous bosses who tried to be my friend. Raising yourself over others sits uneasily with democratic ideals of equality. Today’s managers have to pretend to be one of the team.

The Romans would have scoffed at such weakness. Did Julius Caesar take his legions off-site to get them to buy-in to his invasion of Gaul? Successful leaders had to stand out from the crowd and use their superior skills to inspire, cajole and sometimes force people to do what was necessary. Perhaps we would do well to learn from their blunt honesty.

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  1. 1

    Ik had op zijn minst verwacht dat Cato de Oude (234-149 v.Chr.) wel een eervolle vermelding zou krijgen. Aan de andere kant, die kreeg hij al in Orwell:

    A slave, Marcus Cato said, should be working when he is not sleeping. It does not matter whether his work is needed or not, he must work, because work in itself is good — for slaves, at least. This sentiment still survives, […]

    En Russell:

    There was one man whom it did not please, and that was the elder Cato, who represented the stern, stiff, stupid, and brutal moral code by means of which Rome had defeated Carthage. […] When his slaves were too old to work, he sold them remorselessly. He insisted that his slaves should always be either working or sleeping. He encouraged his slaves to quarrel with each other, for ‘he could not abide that they should be friends’. When a slave had committed a grave fault, he would call in his other slaves, and induce them to condemn the delinquent to death; he would then carry out the sentence with his own hands in the presence of the survivors.

    Ook al deze sentimenten (zij het in wat subtielere vormen) leven nog steeds …

  2. 2

    @1: Wow, mooi citaat van Russell, waar komt dat vandaan?

    @0: probleem is natuurlijk dat het nauwelijks satire te noemen is. Maar dat is wellicht wat je bedoelde.
    It is an uncomfortable truth that both slave owners and corporations want to extract the maximum possible value from their human assets, without exhausting them or provoking rebellion or escape.
    Zodra je spreekt over human assets heb je het over slaven en niet over werknemers.

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