Seven Deadly Diseases of Management definition

Identified by American consultant and statistician William Edwards Deming, the Seven Deadly Diseases of Management refer to behaviours that are severely toxic to organisational effectiveness and also barriers that managers face in the line of their work.

They are:

  1. Lack of constancy of purpose
  2. Emphasis on short-term profits
  3. Personal review systems including evaluation by performance, merit-rating or annual review
  4. Mobility of management
  5. Running a company on visible figures alone rather than ‘invisible’ or non-numerical data
  6. Excessive medical costs
  7. Excessive liability costs                       

Deming also identified a ‘lesser category of obstacles:’

  1. Neglect of long-range planning
  2. Reliance on technology to solve problems
  3. Seeking best practice examples rather than developing in-house solutions
  4. Excuses to procrastinate or avoid best courses of action e.g. “our problems are different to other companies.”
  5. The idea that managers can learn all the skills they need in classes
  6. Reliance on quality control departments to solve problems rather than the combined efforts of management, supervisors and subordinates
  7. Blaming the workforce, which is responsible for 15 percent of unintended consequences, compared to the system, which is responsible for 85 percent
  8. Being reactive by relying on quality inspection rather than proactive by improving product or process quality
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