3.25.2009

Craftsmen needed!?

In the eyes of Richard Sennett, professor at the London school of Economics, our society has become rather superficial. Since the eighties of the past century, management has been seen as a neutral and universal proces. It is not necessary to know what products a manager is selling. Management is like an entity in itself.

Those who like the construction of the products they make, the real craftsmen, were disappearing gradually. These craftsmen were, in the eyes of the management, not flexible enough. A craftsmen is not driven by financial stimuli, but by the motivation to make a product as good as possible.

New, young, dynamic, flexible are the buzzwords of that managerial culture. A craftsman is a problem in this thinking, having questions about the need to change and the real quality of the product. Questions regarding the underlying philosophy are not popular to a manager from the eighties. That takes too much time and besides the philosophy of the manager as entity is merely directed by fast money making or enlarging influence and feelings of importance.

Schools, hospitals and other public institutions were also put in the hands of these managers. Having the power, during the boom in the eighties and nineties, the managers found themselves capable to talk about everything: social, moral and political questions. Driven by money making and enjoying their power they reformed society to that model.

Being rich and having influence was associated by the managers with having competences. The international crisis now reveils some painful facts: you can be very succesful economically, having influences and networks and at the same time being very incompetent.

Sennett's opinion has great possible consequences for a lot of schools. They should pay attention to the primary process: learning, by didactical and mathetical means. Only craftsmen are able to hand this over to the new generation. And seeing a hospital, school or other public institution as a place to make money is one of the largest mistakes of the last decades for Sennett. Managers should be replaced by leaders, knowing the primary process and being craftsmen themselves.

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