CHAPTER 5

THE WORK ENVIRONMENT AND ON-THE-JOB CHALLENGES

5.1 ABOUT THIS CHAPTER

In this chapter, we describe the environment in which applied statisticians work. We begin with a brief discussion of the varying degree of receptiveness to statistics and statisticians in different segments of the workplace. We then describe where statisticians fit into organizations, contrast the consulting and team member modes of operation, and overview job grading systems. We then briefly discuss the impact of globalization on our work and the important role that managers play in our lives. We consider next a variety of challenges that contribute to making the work of statisticians both challenging and interesting. We conclude the chapter by commenting on the role of women in statistics.

5.2 RECEPTIVENESS TO STATISTICS AND STATISTICIANS

5.2.1 A Mixed Bag

The value of statistics, unlike that of many other fields from accounting to physics, is not always evident to management and to our nonstatistical colleagues and varies widely.

A few arenas, such as gambling and insurance (fields that have some communalities), have their fundamental roots in probability and statistics. To remain competitive and profitable, both require an understanding of the probabilities associated with events of interest—such as the rate of occurrence and severity of accidents and natural disasters in the case of insurance and the odds associated with games of chance in gambling. Also, for some government agencies, such as ...

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