One of the more astute observations on the recent Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Walmart comes this morning from columnist Michael Barone, who picked up something interesting from reading Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s partial dissent:
The conclusion I draw is that Ginsburg thinks the only fair way to run a large organization is the way government runs civil service.
All jobs should be numerically classified to eliminate “arbitrary and subjective criteria.” Promotions should be determined by written tests or seniority, not by managers choosing “on the basis of their own subjective interpretations.”
Managers should understand that they will face harsh scrutiny if they don’t hire and promote equal numbers of men and women and pay them all the same. Better just to figure out how to make your gender quotas and avoid any trouble.
Of course, anyone with experience in the real world can tell you that an organization run this way wouldn’t be as efficient as Walmart. It wouldn’t do as good a job of satisfying consumers’ wants. Its employees would probably not be as friendly and helpful.
An organization run this way would be as inefficient as…well…the government.
I’m trying to imagine snarling, unhelpful Walmart greeters if Walmart took governemt as its manaterial role model!