The Cost of Forgetting

To put a price tag on corporate forgetting is difficult but a team of U.S. academics has computed that project performance could be expected to retrogress to 52% of optimum output (Carlson & Rowe, 1976). In the United Kingdom, where low productivity is notoriously illustrated by the actual example of life imitating derision in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where 16 workmen took nearly 4 months and £1,000 to change a light bulb in a street lamp and make its concrete post safe (The Sun, September 16, 2002). Alongside Proudfoot’s estimate of the cost of wasted productivity, cited earlier, a Capgemini research project found that British managers admitted that one in four of their decisions was wrong (one in three in the financial ...

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