Competition Among Peers – Deming’s Third Deadly Disease

Photo by abac077 under Creative Commons Attribution

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Last week I did a posts here and here (and Bryan offered a different paradigm here) about the external motivation (carrot and stick) assumption of many performance evaluation / merit pay systems.  We’re calling this the “jackass series”.

Let’s talk about another assumption that underlies many of these systems – competition between peers increases productivity and effectiveness.  The effort to create competition can take on many forms.  Differential bonuses or annual increases, or forced rankings of peers.  Some go so far as to force somebody in the group to be put in a category like “needs improvement” or “C”.  In some of the most extreme systems people are “let go” Continue reading