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The tyranny of metrics

Author: Jerry Z Muller
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2018]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we've gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Jerry Z Muller
ISBN: 9780691174952 0691174954
OCLC Number: 1005121833
Description: ix, 220 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: I. The argument --
The argument in a nutshell --
Recurring flaws --
II. The background --
The origins of measuring and paying for performance --
Why metrics became so popular --
Principals, agents, and motivation --
Philosophical critiques --
III. The mismeasure of all things? : case studies --
Colleges and universities --
Schools --
Medicine --
Policing --
The military --
Business and finance --
Philanthropy and foreign aid --
Excursus --
When transparency is the enemy of performance: politics, diplomacy, intelligence, and marriage --
IV. Conclusions --
Unintended but predictable negative consequences --
When and how to use metrics: a checklist.
Responsibility: Jerry Z. Muller.

Abstract:

Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we've gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most important institutions. In this timely and powerful book, Jerry Muller uncovers the damage our obsession with metrics is causing--and shows how we can begin to fix the problem. Filled with examples from education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid, this brief and accessible book explains why the seemingly irresistible pressure to quantify performance distorts and distracts, whether by encouraging "gaming the stats" or "teaching to test." That's because what can and does get measured is not always worth measuring, may not be what we really want to know, and may draw effort away from the things we care about. Along the way, we learn why paying for measured performance doesn't work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But metrics can be good when used as a complement to--rather than a replacement for--judgment based on personal experience, and Muller also gives examples of when metrics have been beneficial. Complete with a checklist of when and how to use metrics, The Tyranny of Metrics is an essential corrective to a rarely questioned trend that increasingly affects us all. -- Inside jacket flaps.
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For every quantification, there's a way of gaming it. So argues this timely manifesto against measured accountability.--Kirkus Reviews There is also ample evidence, expertly summarised in Jerry Read more...

 
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