Six Sigma mutant ninja turtles?

The first time I came across a mature adult calling himself a six sigma black belt I was left feeling slightly bemused, and compelled to ask: ‘Does that mean you’re the sixth mutant ninja turtle?’

You might imagine that the black belter was not at all amused. And yet he found it difficult to articulate what he meant by the terminology.

So here’s a little overview of the concepts that underlie the somewhat juvenile nomenclature.

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Managing fear of change

fear-of-change

Change management is a big field, and it sounds scary because it says ‘management’, which is what managers do, right?

The reality is that if only managers manage change, that change will always fall short, or fail entirely.

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Performance management, the only HR component that counts?

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK TEN: HR’s missing premiss.

This week’s compulsory and suggested reading list was extensive, and, as usual, completely ignored by most students, probably because they have learnt that the tutor never challenges them to explain their thinking on any part of the literature, and it certainly doesn’t form the backbone of silly LIS-focused assignments.

We have Drucker being sadly out of date about labour hire companies, a couple of papers advocating the dehumanisation of people as a legitimate HR practice, a couple more specifically focused on IT, the inevitable bullshit library and information studies (LIS) flight of fancy, but one really well-structured and informative paper on Australian HR. That one was almost worth wading through the dross that was the others. I have to wonder sometimes who comes up with these reading lists, and whether they actually read these papers themselves.

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Leadership fanatasies: decontextualised idealism

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK NINE: Chasing elusive leadership qualities.

leading-the-charge

It is unfortunate that academically acceptable treatments of qualitative considerations often need to be masked in a faux neutrality about contexts we all know to be material, if not vital, but that is the state of play.

In that setting, discussions of human attributes or qualities are particularly suspect when they ignore the precise circumstances in which these are observed, and to which an interpretation is linked, which may not be the same circumstances.

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Process control for customer service

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK SIX: Designing career diversification.

service-design

The short piece by Chase is interesting for two reasons: first, it proposes integration into one discipline of the findings from another; and secondly, it proposes a reversal of the currently fashionable overemphasis on empirically measurable correlations suggesting cause and effect.

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Eclipsing liberal education with determinism

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK FIVE: Reading notes.

barbarian

The readings this week seem curiously entangled with INN332, whose project appears to be to create more self-aware library drones who can actually listen to information seeker requests rather than shut them out or superimpose preconceived notions.

My response to the risible attempts at engineering systematic approaches to substitute for generally lousy customer service skills and very poor liberal education seems appropriate for INN331 readings also.

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A little bit of humanity(ies) in the library?

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FIVE: Dilemma of education?.

where-oh-where

My most immediate reaction to the required reading was one of irritated exasperation with the academic process. All students are required, by threat of losing marks, to reference all citations in a specific manner. Offering two of three readings by direct link to online repositories without also resolving the conflict between the official referencing guidelines and the sources of the papers, strikes me as an unnecessary complicating factor. Or as just plain sloppy thinking. My reaction may seem harsh, but this is a library and information science (LIS) subject. And about reference interviews at that!

The one adequately referenced article, by Ross & Dewdney came as a pleasant surprise. It is a no-nonsense reminder to librarians that their customers aren’t fooled by ‘negative closure’, which might be more accurately termed as bad customer service, or just ill-tempered personal self-indulgence.

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Managing the impossible

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK FOUR: Reading discussion.

This post is a response to a university pre-class discussion prep on two readings, one on change management and one on innovation management, with three highlights for each.

 

The readings chosen are Drucker and Hamel.

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Gullibility 2.0 for degree 2.0

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FOUR: Liturgy on social media technology.

the-mountebank

Trying to make sense of readings that attempt to evangelise the marketing term ‘web 2.0’ re-tasked as ‘library 2.0’ for an LIS agenda in the QUT IT Master’s programme is no easy task. The information and knowledge management literature is quite short on history and critical analysis.
However, it is possible to trace the 2.0 terminology to decade-old Silicon Valley snake oil, and its evolution into library 2.0 as disappointingly vacuous nonsense from which the only beneficiaries are software vendors and those academics who publish papers about the topic.

So how did the conflation of web 2.0 with library 2.0 come about?

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Rationalisations for inertia

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FOUR: Liturgy on social media technology.

reference-desk

The Whatley & Collard paper reiterates information I am already acquainted with via INN533: that library users typically don’t know how to use search tools to their best advantage. So, OK. What can be done about it? Whatley & Collard don’t really have any revelatory insights, apparently implying only that reference librarians are needed to explain stuff to idiots. Not a terribly sophisticated proposition.

It seems that adding detailed help files and how-tos is not a preferred option, even if it seems the most obvious one to me, and certainly my preferred option; I’s much rather read written instructions on using search engines than having to wait for a reference librarian to be available and on my wavelength. But I suppose I’m in a minority here.

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