I don’t think so. At least I think it’s more complex than that. I’ve blogged about this before.
Muck of what I hear about “people development” seems to be based on some questionable principles of the prevailing style of management. Dr. W. Edwards Deming had a term for this “the mythology of management” (referring to what he saw in the Western world).
In his 1993 book, The New Economics, he described “faulty practices of management with suggestions for better practice. Here is a partial list:
I like the contributions of Heero Hacquebord as well. Heero is one of the people who worked very closely with Dr. Deming and would often participate in his 4-day seminars. Heero provided a helpful presentation at the Ohio Quality and Productivity Forum years ago. Here is a summary of Heero’s lists:
I think that the prevailing style of management is described in the left-hand columns from Dr. Deming and Heero Hacquebord. This style is not fixed. It’s actually a relatively modern invention. It’s not the kind of management we need now and in the future.
Yes we need for people to move from the prevailing style to a better style (they must develop), but we must not approach this in a mechanistic, reductionistic, formula-driven approach. People are complex. They have a free will. For instance, we can use extrinsic motivation (one person trying to motivate another), but that approach is based on the left-hand world. It will not only likely backfire, it will most likely make matters worse. This s also well-supported in the peer-reviewed literature. A useful article (Self Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development and Well Being) by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan can be found at this link. Edward Deci has a helpful book titled Why We Do What We Do, and Alfie Kohn has written several books on this topic including Punished By Rewards.
These are my thoughts. What do you think?