Sunday, March 25, 2012

Schlimmbesserung

The Germans have a word, schlimmbesserung, to refer to an improvement that actually makes things worse.

Now the first impression is that this is undue pessimism, perhaps some expression of Teutonic Weltsmerz.  After all, Arthur Schopenhauer was given over to these moods.  The poor man just didn't eat enough pastry or drink beer.  He was a bit of a misogynist, too.  Maybe some fraulein dumped him at one time and he never got over it.

However, there may be considerable justification for the concept when it comes to how hierarchies work.  An "improvement' is decided by fiat from upper management, and although it is found to be burdensome and impractical by those on the lower levels, the higher ups are unaware of this and instead ascribe subordinates' reluctance or resistance to inborn conservative tendencies or an unwillingness to accept improvements.


6 comments:

Mike said...

I wonder if Fiat knows about fiat.

Hell Hound said...

They might; but does Lester Flatt know about flat?

Full Cup Balcony said...

Great cartoon.

Bilbo said...

Did you have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get that copy of my office organization chart? That's me, bottom right.

I'm With Stupid said...

This schlimmbesserung thing seems to happen all the time on line. Virtually every social media company "improves" their site and makes it less user friendly constantly.

Jay

Grand Crapaud said...

Jay got it on target. No more improvements, please!