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JOY IN WORK
(from the book, The Deming Dimension, by H. R. Neave)
(Pub. 1990, SPC Press , 5908 Toole Dr, Suite C, Knoxville, TN 37919 ... check their website for additional publications)

Joy in work. Where does that appear in BS5750 (ISO9000), Juran, or Crosby? Where indeed did it appear in Deming prior to 1988? It was seen only indirectly through the tamer language of "pride of workmanship," which has been the subject of the 12th of the 14 Points since they were formulated at the start of the 1980s. And maybe even that hasn’t received the attention it deserves, through being overshadowed in many people’s perception by the reference in the same Point to the abolition of performance appraisal. Yet, during 1988 and beyond, this is where Deming has started many of his presentations:

"Why are we here?
We are here to come alive,
to have fun, to have joy in work."

[and in other presentations/seminars]--

"The aim of management, management’s job,
is to enable everybody to enjoy his work."

"Management’s overall aim
should be to create a system in which everybody
may take joy in his work."

"Management’s job is to create an environment
where everybody may take joy in his work."

Who but Deming would have thought, or dared, to raise such a far-reaching, outlandish, unrealistic concept as "joy in work"? And what a world of meaning and implication is contained within those three little words … Yet, having raised the controversial notion that this is the "job of management," it seems to me that here we have a vital missing link in Deming’s previous teachings. How can we achieve "Constancy of Purpose" for continual improvement (Point 1) without joy in work? How can we "Adopt the New Philosophy" (Point 2) without joy in work?… Compare the chances, if you will, of important innovation being made by those who have, and those who do not have, joy in their work.

In Chapter 29 we shall look in detail at an extensive list of "Faulty Practices" of management which Deming abhors—such as performance appraisals, and the use of MBO and arbitrary numerical targets. These are, in effect, deliberate introductions of conflict, competition, and fear—the direct opposite to the Cooperation: Win-Win culture which is the subject of Chapter 15.

Why are these practices so common, and indeed approved of by many in management? The answer is that they are all examples of making the best of a bad job (see Chapter 3); when the management and working environment is bad, such practices do (at least, on the surface) make things less bad than they were before. The concept of "joy in work" is irrelevant, even ridiculous, in this context. But Deming is not concerned with the short-sighted task of making the best of a bad job—he is concerned with the far-sighted objective of transforming the bad job into a good one, a very good one. And joy in work plays a large part indeed in that context.

Consider motivation. We hear a lot about "motivation of the work-force" these days. There are all sorts of programmes ostensibly concerned with just this, including EI (Employee Involvement), EPG (Employee Participation Groups), and QWL (Quality of Work Life). A common incredulous reaction from those encountering the 14 Points for the first time is: how on earth can we motivate people if appraisals, fear, targets, incentives, threats, and exhortations are to be removed? An abrupt answer from Deming is that if management stopped demotivating their employees then they wouldn’t have to worry so much about motivating them.

Suppose management are successful in what Deming now calls their job—to enable, encourage, and engender joy in work; what need will they then have to concern themselves with motivation? It will already be there. Create joy in work, and EI will come; get joy in work, and QWL will follow—we won’t need programmes. If people have joy in their work, they are fueled by intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation … they become first-class citizens, responsible to themselves; and they become able and willing, indeed enthusiastic … Conversely, those suffering in a system which does not enable and encourage them to have joy in their work will not, dare not, so contribute. And joy in work has largely been smothered by modern management and the political and social environment in which we live. No wonder we are on the decline. For:

"The prime requirement for achievement of any aim, including quality, is joy in work."

… As a final thought, why should people do a good job instead of merely time-serving and getting away with the minimum they can? I’d suggest three possible reasons:

1. fear;
2. financial incentive; or
3. they want to.

Which do you think will be the most effective?

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