Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Managing People

Andrew Card reviews "My Life on the McJob" by Jerry Newman, who worked in various fast food restaurants in order to assess management styles.

Mr. Newman writes that the "rhythms and rituals" that make up the culture of the work environment had the strongest effect on his own job performance--a common enough phenomenon, of course, but Mr. Newman says that it is more pronounced in fast-food restaurants than in other businesses. He captures various aspects of fast-food culture in boxed vignettes, called "From Behind the Counter," sprinkled throughout the book. The anecdotes range from the innocent (cheering up an unhappy little girl by putting a "heaping mound of extra hot fudge" on her sundae) to the almost indecent (at one restaurant, a female manager gives lap dances to favored co-workers in her office, "a classic case" of hostile workplace harassment if "only one crew member feels uneasy," Mr. Newman writes). Sometimes the vignettes are downright alarming: Cleaning up outside a Wendy's near a pond in Florida, he is advised to watch out for alligators.

The Oracle has not read a management book in a while, so he may give it a shot.

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