Cheers for Managers Everywhere

I enjoy Moshidora, otherwise known as a relatively stale, sponsored-by-NHK affair. I think the below explains why. I mean, why I enjoy it. If a show can naturally illustrate the problem with Drucker-style management, it’s quite something. And I quote:

It’s not really funny. It’s not trying to be, I don’t think, but as a drama it doesn’t really make sense. The lead character is supposed to be the one who manages everything, but she’s infinitely worse at it than pretty much everyone else. Hell, the short-haired girl picks up a copy of Management and is a genius statistician so I’m not entirely sure why they even need Minami anymore. She doesn’t seem to contribute anything that can’t be replicated by her friends (being good at management tasks, slapping whiny little bitches) or the coach and team captain (knowing something about baseball).

Did I Miss Something?

She doesn’t even manage anything! She just says random bullshit and somebody else does all the work for her! Then she takes all the credit!

Wait, fuck, she’s an amazing manager.

I laughed, because I was thinking the same thing. It goes on–by episode 5 the management team has ballooned from 2 to 4, one “promoted” to management from the players. That’s like, 1:2 management to player ratio (counting the coach as a manager). It’s true to concept, but the ridiculousness highlights the downsides of that style of management. I’m not even particularly concerned about the “negative enforcement loop” thing, because that’s just being unnecessarily cynical. There are plenty of problems even if you are quite positive about the whole affair. And what’s more, in order to go on, they end up recruiting more people, thinning out from a bunch of other people who has their dreams crushed.

If anything, Minami’s background as an ex-player weakens that sharp satirical view, which may detract from the overall concept. Well, it is educational for a smart apple, but I’m not sure any of them is watching this show. Still, honestly, that’s more enjoyment than I get out of your average anime.

Well, it is still educational. I mean, think about it: whose children grow up to want to be a manager? I guess now a boy whose parents tuned him to this NHK’s little special might want to grow up to date a manager instead. Or, perhaps more shockingly, become a manager himself? That move may get him teased and bullied in school, but it could land him a job after graduation, so all is well. The surprisingly progressive angle is just sprinkles on the icing on the cake, I guess.

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3 responses to “Cheers for Managers Everywhere

  • vendredi

    It’s a pretty valiant effort, trying to tackle what’s commonly thought of as a pretty abstract or otherwise heavy concept and package it into something accessible. Heaven knows they don’t teach it in school.

    I think the real lack of resonance stems from how dated Drucker is: his theories were new and quite radical when he first started writing – the idea of a de-centralized company that outsources and relies on individual initiative rather than command and control was new in the 1960s, but today in the 21st century we think of this sort of thing as just good common sense, to the point where they’ve been internalized into the way we set up our institutions today.

    After all, no one mistakes a baseball team for a pre-Druckerian command-and-control business dinosaur; baseball teams and the like already follow Drucker’s models of de-centralized control – every player has a stake.

  • omo

    Valiant, huh… I suppose it is not an easy topic, so kudos for trying for sure.

    I agree. Drucker’s theories are dated and the dynamics in a baseball team, at that level, is probably more naturally conforming to that than your average employer-employee organization.

    But I think that’s partly what makes it so weird, since it’s easy to see examples in media where teams come to success without such a display of managerial oversight.

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