Mean is Mean

While I was sitting in my boring quantitative techniques class, I suddenly gained new surge of energy while an insight struck me about what i was doin monotonously using my calculator. I was calculating mean average stopping time for visitors who are likely to visit a barber shop. It was a part of simulation exercise wherein using Random Numbers, I calculate average waiting time and utility factor for the barber, thus deciding whether he is busy enough to employ a new worker.

While working in this tool, I somehow could see the entire gravity behind average mean. Average mean as most of us know calculates the average value for a bunch of values. It, in a way, reduced each individual values (time taken to do an activity or any other human related metric) to homogenous entities, dissolved them and produced a value which it claimed to be the sole representative for the entire bunch of values. It was the perfect mathematical expression that could develop in a hierarchy where the person wielding his power at the top looks to bring in one substitute for the diverse set of values. Scientific thought prevalent in the times validated it and soon scores of management tools were made using this concept of mean. Several complimentary ideas such as mode, median all came in handy to help in deciding one value that could be broadcasted as the value for the millions of values.

Most of the old concepts of management, esp. the taylorism era of management grew up on these techniques where they began to find single solutions that optimized the diverse solutions. All these techniques of management worked on one to many concept..

With the advent of New era, mean is now defunct. 'Mean' sounds mean these days cos it makes anachronistic mistake of dissolving individual values. We can no longer to stand to accept that. If we want to make good decisions in this new era, I think we have to unlearn all the baggage of mean we've learnt so far and set out to find new ways to measure performance. I think performance would be much tougher task to measure in this new era, cos it cannot be measured the way we used to, using metrics of the new era..