subjectivity is not so wrong when it comes to beauty in #organisationdesign


Objectively, a price tag of €4000,- for a handbag is insane. Subjectively, you are lucky when allowed to buy a Hermes Kelly handbag.

Objectivity is a trait admired and strived for in management. A clear and untroubled view on how organisations work and an analytical and rational mindset is the prerequisite for managers. That certainly counts for the productivity side of any organisation, from the allocation of capital to the efficiency of processes. But the more soft sides of business are also subject to objectivity. In the marketing and customer side of the business, objectivity and rationality are definitely standard procedure, not only in researching and understanding the customer, but also in the value of a brand. Even employee engagement and team effectiveness are increasingly subject to objective measure and analysis.

One of the characteristics of objectivity is distance, distance between yourself and the object that you study or manage. Deep involvement and connection with the object should be avoided to secure the objectivity and the clearness of mind to judge, to decide and to act.

The opposite of objectivity is subjectivity.

When it comes to beauty however, subjectivity comes definitely into play. As beauty is only partially objective, it also is very subjective. It has to do with connection, emotional involvement, irrationality, feeling, epiphany, dreams, coincidence, magic. Beauty is more about being attached and less about the detachment of objectivity.

An immersion in the environment, a biased view, a deeply felt connection, an irrational obsession with the quality of work, to name a few aspects of subjectivity, do enable beauty. Not only in the arts, also in organisations. And although thinking about management and organisation is dominated by objectivity, successful organisations have that subjectiveness; that ‘I cannot pinpoint it, but there is something’ factor of success. There is something, but it is diametrical to the mindset of objectivity.

You can fight it, the power of subjectivity, but you can also embrace it and leave room for wonder.

Subjective engagement with reality enables new solutions beyond the realm of objectivity. Solutions that touch people, just because of that subjectivity. Solutions that might proof, with hindsight, very sound, objectively spoken.

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Customers pay for beauty and subjectivity: a Hermes Kelly handbag starts at €4000,-, if you are lucky enough to be allowed to buy one.

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