Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back To The Centralization Theory

This is the graph obtained from the Ballistic Think Tank committee for the analysis of all things.

I think this applies to most systems, if not all. That includes labor organizations.
In a single workplace, or a single company, an association of concerned workers motivated by wanting to do the best work while optimizing their returns can work well. They know their situation and their jobs.
When an organization based far away, run by people who do not do the daily job at that place decide to manage the labor in that organization, it can become detrimental in the long term to both the purpose of the company and the interests if the employees. Usually the carrot which leads many to go along is the promise of short term, short sighted gains. What tends to happen is that the organization seeks to ensure its own survival and power, with actual working conditions and realistic concerns of employees taking a back seat.

In some cases this has served to run companies into the ground, or overseas. Not to say some large concerns haven't embraced their share of short sighted corruption. More often than some believe the union and company management work together to play on or influence legislation which serves the executives of each organization and it does not serve the long term security of employees.

When government employees from different states have influence over matters outside their own community, it undermines the process of representative democracy and as is happening all over the country, it contributes to the financial demise of those locations where the public labor organizations are most entrenched.

The larger multistate and multi-national labor organizations use union dues, which are often not voluntary, to influence elections, support particular campaigns, etc. When a public employee does not have choice regarding membership, it provides a great opportunity for corruption and results in many employees paying to encourage policies with which they may not agree. The other tax payers, whose taxes pay the salaries and benefits are somewhat disenfranchised by this system.

Eventually a system such as this becomes self destructive because it can continue to drain resources until maintenance of their agreements become unsustainable. On a more localized level of organizing, employee associations would be much less likely to kill the golden goose in their negotiations.

When the bargaining unit becomes too large, and has various laws in place to favor its activities, the tendency to bulldoze the opposition to get their way becomes the path of least resistance for them. Intimidation, shouting down opposition rather than reasoned debate, and violence to employees who don't go along are the norm. That cannot result in long term benefit.

It is all part of how things work. The more centralization and consolidation of control, after a point, the less effective and efficient. It works with items of infrastructure, government, and almost any management situation. It works to a point and then it becomes too out of touch with the items under control to be beneficial. One error at the top and massive problems occur because so much is under control of that authority.

I've seen it work that way in large companies as well. If they go too far in removing responsibility from the local entities, they tend to screw the pooch; queer the deal; suck to work for.

It is a delicate balance between seeking a useful level of standardization and retaining the proper level of choice, decision making and responsibility at the level closest to the functions of the organization. A machine shop in North Carolina is going to have some variance in operation and needs from one in New York City or Boise. Just how it is.

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