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We have Drucker being sadly out of date about labour hire companies, a couple of papers advocating the dehumanisation of people as a legitimate HR practice, a couple more specifically focused on IT,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.


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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Presentation lessons learnt?

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK EIGHT: Ruining presentation design.


MAKING a presentation is a moral act as well as an intellectual activity. The use of corrupt manipulations and blatant rhetorical ploys in a report or presentation-outright lying, flagwaving, personal attacks, setting up phony alternatives, misdirection, jargon-mongering, evading key issues, feigning disinterested objectivity, willful misunderstanding of other points of view-suggests that the presenter lacks both credibility and evidence. To maintain standards of quality, relevance, and integrity for evidence, consumers of presentations should insist that presenters be held intellectually and ethically responsible for what they show and tell. Thus consuming a presentation is also an intellectual and a moral activity.

(Tufte, 2006, p. 141.)

The brief initially called for a 12 slide presentation of (no more than) 20 seconds talk for each slide to comprise a complete presentation in four minutes. The brief did not mention the requirement for a slide of references, but subsequent questions and answers resulted in a definitive ruling that such a slide had to be incorporated.

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Process control for customer service

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK SIX: Designing career diversification.


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.


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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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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The Stanford prison experiment revisited

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK THREE: Lecture tangent on manipulating staff.

This comment relates to a university lecture and may not make any sense to anyone who did not attend that lecture.


About 20 years ago I participated in a corporate change management and team building ‘retreat’ during which we played a limited version of the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment.

Our game was devoid of props like prison cells or handcuffs, and we were divided into ‘patricians’ and plebeians’, with the patricians being encouraged to abuse and bully the plebeians into accomplishing menial tasks in their service.

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The opaque layer of strategic planning

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK TWO: Reflections on a tedious lecture.


Sitting in yet another lecture dominated by yet another story about what a dedicated and committed bunch of professionals librarians are, and how inclusive their strategic planning is, I took to wondering how it was that no one was willing to talk about the crux of the planning process: money.

I could not help but imagine the process for the library. The senior bureaucrat in charge decided on a budget and strategic direction well ahead of any library executive ever getting a chance to articulate any plan at all.

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