Etikettarkiv: logic

Policy and reason don’t mix

A few days ago, my wife ran into something that made me think about policy and reason…

Where we live there is a bus that we usually ride to go to the subway station. Ever since a new contractor took over the bus-operation, the service of the busses has deteriorated sharply. A few days ago the bus was late, again. My wife called the bus-company to complain and learned that our local busstop does not have a fixed schedule, instead it is only the major busstops that do. The schedule for the intermediate ones are only there as a guide and the busses may be up to 10 minutes late depending on traffic.

Now, my wife tried to interject that there was no traffic at all on the roads. Still the same answer. Now she tried to say that there is no way the bus can be 10 minutes late when our local busstop is only 2 stops away from where the bus starts (which according to the explanation before should have been one with a fixed schedule). Still the same answer…

A related case was several years ago when my friend the pilot was going on a flight as a passenger. He got a bad seat and asked the flight attendant if he could move to another seat. The answer was that this was not possible, since it would screw up the pilot’s weight and balance calculations. My friends answer was: “Not weight, but possibly balance”

Both of these cases point me to something. In both cases there was some policy decided by the organization in question. Policys are there to guide decisions. But once the policy is made, it is very hard for somebody to try a logical argument against them. The people on the front line of the organizations with the policies can easily ‘hide’ behind the policies so that they do not have to think for themselves. Organizations with policies may feel that they do not have to deal with real-world issues and circumstances and do not have to empower/educate their front-line personnel. But also, they miss out on great opportunities for improvement and excellent customer service.