Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Pointless work meetings ‘really a form of therapy’

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Sean Coughlan reports for BBC:

Meetings at work should be seen as a form of “therapy” rather than about decision-making, say researchers.

Academics from the University of Malmo in Sweden say meetings provide an outlet for people at work to show off their status or to express frustration.

Professor Patrik Hall says they are becoming increasingly frequent – as more managerial and “strategy” jobs generate more meetings.

But he says despite there being more meetings “few decisions are made”.

Prof Hall has investigated an apparent contradiction in how people can have a low opinion of work meetings, yet their numbers keep increasing.

Looking for a purpose

The political scientist says the rise in meetings reflects changes in the workforce – with fewer people doing and making things and an increase in those involved in “meetings-intense” roles such as strategists, advisers, consultants and managers.

“People don’t do concrete things any more,” he says.

Instead he says there has been a rise of managerial roles, which are often not very well defined, and where “the hierarchy is not that clear”.

“Many managers don’t know what to do,” he says, and when they are “unsure of their role”, they respond by generating more meetings.

“People like to talk and it helps them find a role,” says the professor.

Many of these people can spend half of their working hours in meetings, he says.

These can spill over into pre- and post-meetings, to such an extent that people might begin to “disguise” how much time they spend attending them.

Prof Hall, who has co-authored a book on meetings, gives the example of the Swedish border police, who describe their overseas meetings as “power weeks”.

‘Opportunity to complain’

Meetings can “arouse feelings of meaninglessness”, he says. But he argues that is often missing their point.

Once in a meeting – particularly long ones – their function can become “almost therapeutic”. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2019 at 4:44 pm

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