Saturday, February 21, 2009


Hi, my name is Peter Cox. I live in Australia.

I am researching how the workplace, or as I call the essential part of it the 'coalface', is being devalued and becoming an annoying, uncertain, absurd place to be. The cause is generally stupid management and poorly designed systems; it seems to be a disease or virus making once decent and satisfying workplaces sick or near dead. Productivity, growth and satisfaction is declining.

Coalface has become a term that means the place or site where an organisation's actual work is done. e.g. a coalface in a coal mine, not its managers, marketers etc. Teachers, nurses, surgeons, mechanics, farmers, shop assistants etc are 'coalfacers' because they carry out the essential work for whom they work.
They do the 'dirty' work, they are at the frontline, the 'coalface'. If you work there, you deal with, and solve on your feet, real problems and issues, rather than being detached from them. You have to 'face' them. Avoiding the coalface - sitting in a office planning and discussing such things without taking sensitive and thoughtful cognisance of the coalface experience, can be a recipe for unhappy unproductive workplaces.

'Coalfacers' have always had the best idea how their coalfaces work well - and how they work badly. They know how they should be managed. Thus, they should be always in the decision making process that affects how they work. But they are rarely consulted properly. This illustrates that their work model has a heritage in a master/slave one.

Do you have any bad, stupid, ridiculous, funny stories or anecdotes about poor management and the systems they foist upon decent workers? Or solutions. From any workplace.... or coalface. Please post them here?

This blog is about the joy of the coalface - or how stupid management is ruining a good days work!


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