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Quantitative Decisional Tools Of Management Are Self-defeating

There are sometimes funny political experiences where we have a government criminalizing a certain area of learning. Like the last century experience in Russia where Josef Stalin criminalized the Study of Genetics by claiming that it is a branch of learning which is scientifically unfounded, a rumour, heretic and therefore not consistent with the spirit of socialist intellectualism. Stalin did this out of his ideological bigotry against his opponents and religion which he extended to genetics given that founders of genetics in the likes of Gregor Mendel were Christian religious leaders. By this act Stalin stripped off more than fifty thousand people a profession and a livelihood, going by the fact some Russians already had Doctorate qualifications in Genetics by this time. This story can be read in full by referring to His Holiness a book about Pope John Paul II by Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi, In One Year and then Twenty Letters both by Svetlana Allilluyeva, the anti-Stalinist-cum-anti-communist daughter of Josef Stalin.

Currently Laila Lalami has published an article in the Newyork Times, under the title My Life as a Muslim in the West’s Gray Zone in which she has argued that the Countries that subscribe to the philosophy of Islamic State have abolished teaching of Chemistry in all the learning institutions. They have done this by arguing that chemistry as a branch of learning does not conform to the teachings of the Quran, thus chemistry professionals in the nations of Islamic state are duty-bound to start afresh in search of a profession. So bad.

Contrastingly, my pique at decision sciences as taught in management is inspired by a different spirit. I am only concerned with the technical and ideological feasibility of this science at macro-economic level. It is not in any way a deliberate Zinger aiming a barb at social relevance of operational researchers as professional decisional scientists. It is only a discourse about macro-economic benefits of applying quantitative decisions tools in corporate decision making. The sciences I am talking about are the key components of operational research. They include linear programming, queuing, game theory, transportation, Assignment, simulation, Markov Analysis, Leontief Matrix and Network analysis. They are the tools applied by the managers, management committees, investors, or corporate strategists when making a business or management decision. All these tools operate on one decision principle; maximize the benefits as you minimize the costs, or minimize the costs as you maximize the benefits. They are the tools guided by win-lose approach to decision making.

Most interesting is the Game theory which goes a radical step further to rationalize corruption as an intelligent behavior conventional for all the social and political games by using an argument known as prisoner’s dilemma. This argument puts it forth that it is rational for a prisoner to run away from prison when others are running away given the opportunity. And it is more irrational and very dangerous for a prisoner not to run away only to remain behind when others are escaping, because he or she is not corrupt.

These decisional tools of management are discouragingly mathematical, but they all operate at the same level of moral fiber. Using linear programming as an example, whether duplex or simplex you notice that a corporate leader is only to accept a decision which enables the organization to maximize economic gains or financial gains as it minimizes the cash out-flaws to the suppliers,labourers,tax-man,consumers, ecological concerns and other stakeholders. In fact interests of non-owners in the organization are identified as limitations or constrains by linear programmer.

Practically, these decisional tools of management are the main social force that has made the human society in the world to be a victim of patrimonial capitalism, where the ninety percent of all the financial wealth in the worlds is owned by less than a thousand families out of the human population of about seven billion people. Thomas Picketty the brain child behind the concept of Patrimonial capitalism in his book Capital in the Twenty First Century accuses the top Wall Street investors like Warren Buffet, Felix Rohatyn, Donald Trump and Ted Turner as well as many others for being passionate patrimonial capitalists. This is also the position which Andrew Carrington Hitchcock takes in regard to the condition of world poverty in his book the Synagogue of Satan. It is also the germ of the main theme in the Wall Street stories of William Cohan as narrated in his book the Last Tycoons.

Kenya has a good example in the case of Safaricom Corporation. This is an organization that has kept on swelling in capital resources at an appalling pace but in a very sharp contrast to the economic condition of its workers, its cell-phone hawkers, soft-ware suppliers, Mpesa shop dealers, air-time vendors, and its surrounding communities like Nairobi Slum dwellers. They have remained the same all through, in poverty.

What happens technically is that there is a destructive avarice economically thinning away those that are slender in ownership whenever they economically relate with high-powered industrial capitalists , this happens through the maneuvers that go with financial decisions in capital rich organizations. All the decisions for an economic transaction by the capital rich company only get expedited via one of the decisional science tools, for no other objective but an ultimate focus on share-holders’ wealth maximization and expenses minimization. It all happens in an economically unfortunate situation in the sense that individuals and small organizations don’t have intellectual and capital machinery to adopt and implement a decisional system of operational research. This system of corporate decision making is only good at micro-economic level, but self-defeating at a macro-economic level as it only puts immense wealth in the hands of the few against the masses that wallow in persistent poverty.


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Articles by Alexander Opicho

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