Workshops and why you must avoid them

Dalrymple has another post at The Social Affairs Unit, this one dealing with the racket that is professional “courses, conferences, away-days, workshops, team-building weekends”.

All this para-work, this ceaseless diversionary activity, is designed, or at least destined, to prevent people from carrying on their real work. By doing so, of course, it creates employment, or at least the necessity to pay people salaries: for, overall, many man-days are lost to it. And it creates pseudo-entrepreneurial opportunities for so-called consultants (often ex-employees of the organisations whose staff they now offer to train in such skills as assertiveness). It is, in effect, an exercise in Keynesian demand-management, but unlike the kind of public works that Keynes envisaged as a stimulus to a flagging economy, it leaves the country with nothing of enduring value, unless a bureaucrat with a flat-screened television and a new conservatory be called something of enduring value.

Needless to add, ceaseless “personal and professional development” is perfectly compatible with the most abysmal incompetence. Indeed, such incompetence is welcome, for it creates ever more demand for the personal and professional development that is supposedly the means to overcome it. This is what I believe is known as a positive feedback loop.
Read the whole thing here

It would be interesting to see a study comparing the prevalence of these workshops among bureaucratic government service organizations and monopolies versus private sector firms in competitive industries.

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