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General (5)

Nagib Choueiri asks:

How can time span differentiate between the time required to complete the job as a result of the job complexity or the individual's proficiency?  For example, a more experienced programmer would finish a job faster than a less experienced one, so how can the manager determine the time span of the job irrespective of the individual performing it?

To answer your question, let's get down to fundamentals.  

First, time span is about intended time (referred to by Jaques as "kairos") not about the time it has taken to complete something ("chronos").  Time span is the longest the manager intends a subordinate to take to complete any task within their role.

Of course, the manager's intention will typically be based on their experience of how long this type of task takes.  And as Nagib correctly points out, the manager will expect a particular task to be done quicker by a more capable employee than it would by a less capable one.  Here is where we must move our focus from the task to the role.

Let's consider Employee A in Role A and the more capable Employee B in Role B.  And let's use the formula for task assignment: QQT/R (Quantity, Quality, Time, Resources).  For the same QQ/R, the manager will give a bigger T to A than they would to B.  B is more capable and so can complete quantity of output at the same quality standard with the same resources in less time than B can.  But our 50+ years of experience using time span teaches us to predict that role B will contain within it a task longer than (with a bigger T) any task in Role A.  The manager will understand that B can handle more complex work than A can, and some of that work will take longer than any task A can handle.  

It is conceivable that a role could contain only compressed tasks, that is, tasks that:
  • normally are given to someone at a given level of capability and which take a given amount of time but which
  • have been given to someone at a higher level of capability who is given less time for them.

I asked Dr. Jaques about this some years ago and he said those roles are rare because they burn out the incumbent; we have a need, he believed, to extend our work out into the future as far as we are capable.  It has taught me to be sure when I am time spanning a role that it is not a burnout role.

Let's look at the second part of your question, "How can the manager determine the time span of the job irrespective of the individual performing it?"  On the one hand, literally, the manager must simply find the longest they intend the subordinate to take to complete any task within their role.  But many roles do get adapted to the incumbent.  The manager may have hired Employee B expecting them to perform as Employee A did.  In finding B's higher capability, the manager will likely make two changes in task assignment to B:
  • they will give B less time to complete a given task than they would to A
  • they will give B more complex tasks than they would give to A, and some of those tasks will be given a longer T than in any task in Role A
Try this out while you time span roles, Nagib, and let me know what you find.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 05:00

A request for questions

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I have never written a blog before and don't spend much time reading others' blogs, so this will be an experiment.  My intention is to focus on questions from the field - questions that practitioners, academics, consultants and students might send in that would be of general interest to the RO community.  I'll respond directly to those questions I have an opinion on, will search for a colleague to respond to questions out of my range of knowledge and experience and will welcome responses directly from the community.  From time to time I expect I'll post an entry simply coming from my experience as a consultant and theoretician. 

 Let the questions begin.

 Please send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Monday, 13 October 2008 05:00

Elliott Jaques en Argentina

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La influencia de las ideas del Dr. Jaques en Argentina ha sido significativa. Esto se debe en gran medida a la acción del Dr. Aldo Schlemenson, destacado profesional argentino en el campo organizacional que hizo su doctorado en la Universidad de Brunel bajo su dirección.

El Dr. Jaques tuvo presencia directa en Argentina en reiteradas oportunidades, en diversos proyectos relacionados con la consultoría, la formación de directivos de organizaciones y el desarrollo de profesionales locales. Entre los proyectos de cambio organizacional de mayor envergadura en los que actuó como asesor figuran el realizado en el grupo industrial ACINDAR y en la Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos, en este último dentro de un proyecto conducido por el Dr. Schlemenson.

Se suman a estos numerosos proyectos en otras organizaciones que fueron asesorados por el Dr. Jaques. Numerosos profesionales argentinos tuvieron así la oportunidad de formarse directamente con el Dr. Jaques, entre ellos el redactor de este blog. A lo largo de los años se desarrollaron varios seminarios abiertos bajo su conducción en Buenos Aires. Asimismo, fue reiteradamente invitado a exponer sus ideas por diversas organizaciones empresariales y públicas interesadas en su potencialidad de cambio.

Argentina es posiblemente es el país del mundo en que su pensamiento está más representado en cátedras de varias universidades. Entre estas se cuentan la Universidad de Buenos Aires, el Instituto Tecnológico Buenos Aires, la Universidad del Salvador, la Universidad de Belgrano, la Universidad Argentina de la Empresa y la Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales.En 1998 fue nombrado Profesor Honorario de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Administración de la Universidad del Salvador, y en 2000 Profesor Honoris Causa en la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.

La editorial argentina GRANICA publicó la traducción al castellano de una de sus obras principales, "La organización requerida". Anteriormente, la Editorial PAIDOS publicó tres de sus obras, no disponibles hoy: "La forma del tiempo", "Trabajo, incentivos y Retribución" y "Los sistemas sociales como defensa contra la ansiedad" este último en colaboración con I. Menzies.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008 05:00

Academics and Researchers Blog

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This is a blog for academics and researchers to share what they are doing with each other. 

This means the research they can't quite define.  It means the questions that have no answer.  The data that is promising but has run out of promises.  Maybe sharing these problems will find someone who has an answer. 

For students to ask what questions are open and yet to be asked or answered.  What studies need to be replicated, and may be publishable.   

It is a place for stories, where consultants can find researchers to properly write up their cases - and for both to get credit and credibility. 

Gossip about editors and journals and books - which are open to this approach - what kind of piece fits in which publication - etc.  A place to post future  'special issues' on topics like time or work practices or work relationships that might be of interest and doable. 

Refreshment when a doctoral thesis begins to flag.  Another pair of eyes - friendly but critical.  And a source of outside members of review committees. 

New angles to take, such as - one sure way to solve the current global financial meltdown might be - dare I say it - trust?  How to establish it. 

 And, of course, how to get with it.  How the latest consulting fad and academic fashion can be related to research on RO. 

 Teaching issues, cases, how to explain this theory at different levels.  What readings (start with the Annotated Biblio) work at what levels?  Illustrations that work. 

What schools may have openings and are friendly to this theory.  In this economy, jobs have to be included. 

I sense a huge opening in many areas for RO.  We have to share for these opening to work. 

Well?  What do you think?  Is this too ambitious? 

My best.  -  Ken Craddock  


Sunday, 14 September 2008 05:00

GO President's Blog -- Our new web site

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We have been busy these last few months designing our new society web site.

It's a Beta version and we should have Stage I complete and debugged in a couple of weeks.

Take a look and let me know what you think by November 30th.

What to expect from Stage I?

All the old material from our current site has been moved over and some new material has been added.

New features include:

  • Search capability
  • Integrated data base - connecting affiliate accounts (required for all downloads) on-line store, conference and workshop registration, discussion forums, mailing list management system and survey tools.  Affiliates can update their own contact information, photos, and bios subject to editorial review.
  • Tools such as - blogs, photo gallery and backroom for board work and other governance activities,
  • Modular design allows rapid and efficient changes in design, menus and content
  • Built in HTML editors mean volunteers like you and me will be able to make changes ourselves in parts of the site we maintain.
  • Flash video - for better compatibility with computers world-wide
  • Capability to switch between English, Spanish & Portuguese pages.
  • Google analytics - to count page visits and all downloads

Any and all comments will be helpful on:

  • Aesthetics
  • Policy
  • Content
  • Features
  • Typographical errors
  • Ideas for improvements next time.

Your comments best by November 30th, but we will keep making improvements and welcome anytime.

Then we'll be working on Stage II through April 30th - much more functionality and special features including member only collaborative projects and on-line learning modules.

Best wishes,


Professional associations & universities that support and / or co-market society conferences

 New York City, USA

IBM International


The Argentine Human Resources Association

The European Organization Design Forum


Canadian Association of Management Consultants

Human Resource Professionals of Ontario

Human Resource Planning Society

An institute for advanced human resources professional development

An association of academics, business users and consultants headquartered at Aarhus University in Denmark

A USA based association

A Toronto-based association of advanced HR practitioners 


An Argentine Society for Quality Improvement


The Argentine Society for Training and Development

The Argentine Human Resources Association

Federation of Human Resource Associations in Latin America 

The Buenos Aires Technological Institute

An professional association for public service employees in Canada

Consulting firms that provide financial support


A management consulting firm in Toronto, Canada



Forrest and Company, Toronto, Canada


A global network of associate consultants headquartered in Toronto Canada



Toronto, Canada

















Toronto, Canada

Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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