...to the Scientific Manager! A blog & monthly newsletter written by Ken Cavanagh.
While mostly a collection of essays, it's also a place for me to share my work. Some of that work is more refined, but much of it was part of a learning experience for me. Therefore, criticism is encouraged, as without criticism, what would science be?
I hope that, through these efforts, I can help build a community of like-minded individuals who want to help bridge the scientist-practitioner gap in managing progressive organizations.
If this sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to subscribe to the newsletter. In addition to monthly essays, subscribers receive a curated list of the top insights I've gathered that month while documenting my journey as a scientist-practitioner.
The newsletter is currently free, but for those who find value in my work and would like to contribute, I've also included a low-cost paid option. I also accept Bitcoin donations.
If this is your first time here, I'd recommend checking out some of my more popular essays:
- The Challenge to Astronauts is about the challenges we may face as technical burden on astronauts continues to diminish.
- Systems, leverage, and the beer game is a brief introduction to systems science, a discipline I will write a lot more about.
- Foundations is, well... a foundational introduction to my formal education in industrial-organizational psychology. This is a great place to start if you want to understand my thinking.
If you came here to learn about people analytics, you might like:
- A Beginners Guide to ONA in Python–your step-by-step guide to conducting organizational network analysis [ONA] in practice.
- Job Diagnostics and the Motivation Equation–a scientist-practitioners approach to measuring employee motivation, and a pythonic implementation.
The Scientific Manager
Now over 100 years old, Taylor's book "The Principles of Scientific Management" presents a scientific methodology for optimizing the work system. Many of the practices Taylor put forward are still common practice today.
While often criticized for his views on people as cogs in the wheel, Taylor's broader idea of treating organizations as experiments is central to the ideas in this blog.
Towards a new model
The Scientific Manager seeks to synthesize elements of psychology, engineering, and systems science to manage highly technical work systems. While it promotes the kind of technical aptitude suitable for navigating the high technology organizations of the future, it is a useful approach to any work system as the overarching idea remains that science is at the core of all decision-making.
What is a scientific manager?
A scientific manager is someone who sees the organization as an open system. One who understands that change occurs through leverage points which we can identify through efficient measurement systems and practical statistics.
A scientific manager leaves intuition at the doorstep and turns to data and scientific reasoning to build a leveraged work system.
This is the epitome of resourceful management in the age of technology.