Society Demands "More-for-Less"
Addicted to Performance

Government at federal, state and local levels, communities, multinationals, businesses and not-for-profits all find themselves subject to ongoing, and indeed relentless pressure from society for better performance – greater efficiency. As shareholders/stakeholders we want better returns on our investments, and at the same time as consumers we want “more-for-less” – we want better value for money and to be able to cut a favourable deal – one that advantages us and makes us feel good.

It is worthless, it is worthless! says the buyer, but when he goes his way, then he boasts about his bargain (Proverbs 20:14).

To meet this duplicitous demand (pressure) of society for better returns and “more-for-less”, the modern-day organization finds itself engaged in an endless pursuit of efficiency and performance. If it fails to engage in this never-ending quest for greater efficiency, then in time it will become part of Joseph Schumpter’s “Creative Destruction” and it will cease to exist.

All leaders, whether director or trustee of an organization, a senior executive, politician, government official or community leader irrespective of their role, need to be aware of the consequences – what you have to watch out for – of society’s addiction to performance. In Addicted To Performance, the authors describe the plight of modern-day organizations, trapped as they are in an endless pursuit of efficiency and performance – the outworking of society’s addiction to performance. Shareholders and stakeholders on the one hand, and consumers on the other, are all demanding better organizational performance to satisfy their individual and collective addiction to the rewards of performance: better returns and more-for-less.Using a number of well-known organizations, the authors illustrate how this ever-increasing pressure for greater efficiency and better organizational performance leads to cost-cutting, outsourcing and downsizing in organizations, and ultimately to the emergence of:

  • Pragmatic and non-compliant work practices;
  • Changes in occupational culture;
  • Bow-waves of uncompleted tasks & activities;
  • Unknown and unmanaged risk;
  • Incidents, accidents and even disasters.

As the authors tell their story, peeling back layer by layer the complexity that is organizational performance, it becomes increasingly clear that in the pursuit of performance, many organizations are jeopardising their future by not investing in their own capability. The authors contend that leadership should confront the consequences of society’s addiction and seek to secure competitive advantage for their organization through engagement with their people, working with them in an adaptive manner to create a new future. Simply following the herd and emulating what others have done and are doing (cost-cutting, outsourcing, downsizing, etc.) does not automatically secure competitive advantage or guarantee the future of an organization.

This is not a book of formulas and recipes. It will not lay out, yet another pathway to success; that is not the authors’ intent. Rather, their intent is to create awareness, in the minds of those charged with the responsibility of leadership, of the myriads of ways in which their decisions and actions affect and influence the inner-workings of their organization. Moreover, that leadership is so much more than pulling resource levers and pushing system buttons. In the minds of the authors, it is leadership’s responsibility to confront the uncertainty and ambiguity inherent in the adaptive challenges that need to be embraced, if their organization is to secure its future.

Addicted To Performance is available in both paperback and ebook (epub & kindle) formats. If you would like to know more, then please visit our web site:- Addicted To Performance.

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Dr John S. Bircham

B.Agr.Sc; M.Agr.Sc.(Hons); Ph.D

John has worked with management systems for his entire working life, whether attempting to understand them or to re-engineer them to improve business efficiency and productivity.  More...

Dr Heather J. Connolly.

BMS (Hons); PGDip StratMgt (Dist); Ph.D.

Heather lectures at the University of Waikato. Her academic and research interests revolve around knowledge sharing and transfer mechanisms as they relate to organizational management.  More...

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