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I Want You to Cheat!: The Unreasonable Guide to Service and Quality in Organisations [Paperback]

John Seddon
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 2002 --  

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vanguard Education Ltd. (2002)
  • ISBN-10: 095197310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0951973103
  • ASIN: B001VTHIX6
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,728,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 13 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
By cheating Seddon means that we should do the sensible thing rather than what is expected according to some sort of bureacratic rule. He later wrote a book "against iso 9000" that perhaps explains the idea more clearly, because I'm not sure I like the metaphor of "cheating" all that much. The ideas in the book are mostly derived from Deming, and I don't know if Deming would have liked this talk about "cheating" either, but it is an easy read, and quite good too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I don't feel so stupid now. 1 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having worked in the public sector for over twenty years I have often felt there must be a better way to provide services and this book has reassured me that's the case. Simply written in a fairly light-hearted manner, so glad I bought it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Every Manager should read this 29 Oct 2013
By Mr. Ross Maynard VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can barely believe this book was published over 20 years ago. The issues that John Seddon comments on, and the criticisms he raises of management practices, remain as valid today as they were in 1992. In fact I believe that the "problem" of managing by productivity targets is a bigger one today than it was then, particularly since this obsession with targets is now sweeping the public sector, driven by successive governments.

Mr Seddon is not very complimentary of such a target driven approach. He is not the only one, and many writers have pointed out the dangers and unintended consequences of focussing on output measures rather than measures of the effectiveness and efficiency of the work process. Alfie Kohn in "Punished by Rewards" and Brian Joiner in "Fourth Generation Management", among numerous others, make similar points, though John Seddon has the benefit of a very crisp writing style.

Mr Seddon argues (and I agree) that this obsession with targets is driven by an underlying belief that staff are "difficult" or prone to slacking and, therefore, need to be "controlled". Procedures and targets become a means of monitoring and controlling staff (as a team or individually), rather than enabling them to perform effectively and improve working processes. In addition, such measures then get used in performance reviews to judge "good" or "bad" performance. Of course, we know (or we should know) that performance is governed more by the system that individuals work in (processes and procedures) than by individual effort, and such a focus on individual performance inevitably leads to obfuscation, excuses and even cheating (hence the title of the book).
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