Friday, January 05, 2020

Hamburger Management Rampant

There is yet more evidence of rampant Hamburger Management in a survey from Florida [via Brent Kallestad, Associated Press].

A survey by researchers at Florida State University makes depressing reading. It seems that almost 40% of managers fail to keep their promises—surely the very basis of trust and honesty. An almost equal number fail to give their people due credit, while nearly one third badmouth their subordinates to others. Just about a quarter blame others to cover up their own mistakes.

You might object that this says little more than that leaders are human beings. We have all done these things on occasions, to our shame. Yet leaders aren’t paid to be no better at handling others than the average person. Part of the basis for their privileges and rewards is that they should be professionals in leadership and all that goes with it. This research suggests that most are not.

Such poor leadership is demonstrably harmful to organizations. As the Associated Press article says:
Employees stuck in an abusive relationship experienced more exhaustion, job tension, nervousness, depressed moods, and mistrust, the researchers found. They found that a good working environment is often more important than pay, and that it's no coincidence that poor morale leads to lower production.
The results of the study are scheduled for publication in the Fall 2007 issue of The Leadership Quarterly. They include:
  • 39 percent of workers said their supervisor failed to keep promises.

  • 37 percent said their supervisor failed to give credit when due.

  • 31 percent said their supervisor gave them the "silent treatment" in the past year.

  • 27 percent said their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.

  • 24 percent said their supervisor invaded their privacy.

  • 23 percent said their supervisor blamed others to cover up mistakes or to minimize embarrassment.
Why am I not surprised by these findings? Because they are inevitable, given the epidemic of Hamburger Management soiling our organizations. Hamburger Managers sacrifice principles to expediency; ignore human needs in favor of financial demands; and place short-term profits (and their personal enrichment) before the demands of honesty, professionalism, and humanity itself.

Until we stamp out Hamburger Management, tens of thousands of people will continue to suffer daily oppression and humiliation in their places of work. It is as large a scandal as any in this world—and it is still going largely ignored.

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Eric Brown said...

Interesting Stats.

A similar survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide ( shows similar trends. The survey shows that more than half of US employees don't trust their manager and/or senior management.

Yet more evidence of hamburger management.

11:21 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks for the comment, Eric.

What's also interesting in the Watson Wyatt survey (which I hadn't seen until you pointed it out in your comment, thank you) is the small but across-the-board fall in employees' confidence in their managers between 2004 and 2006.

Keep reading, my friend.

12:57 PM  

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