top of page

Rethinking Traditional Management

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

As a Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) professional in the oil and gas industry, I've observed how traditional management approaches, grounded in behaviorism and Skinnerian methods, influence performance management. These approaches have been effective in certain contexts, but recent research suggests they may not be the best fit for fostering creativity and cognitive tasks. It's time to reevaluate our strategies and consider new models that enhance autonomy, mastery, and purpose among employees. Here's an exploration of these concepts and their relevance in the oil and gas industry.

Rethinking Traditional Management Techniques

The conventional use of rewards and punishments, based on Skinnerian methods, has been effective in managing certain behaviors. However, for tasks requiring creativity and cognitive effort, this approach might be limiting. The traditional carrot-and-stick methods can be perceived as manipulative and may not necessarily foster genuine engagement, especially in complex tasks.

Cognitive Tasks and Creative Work

For cognitive tasks, such as problem-solving in safety management, the traditional reward system can be counterproductive. This is particularly relevant in our industry, where innovation and critical thinking are crucial. As noted in Dan Pink's "Drive," autonomy, mastery, and purpose (AMP) are key motivators for cognitive tasks.

Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose (AMP)

  • Autonomy: In the context of safety management, giving professionals autonomy to develop and implement safety measures can lead to innovative solutions and improved safety performance.

  • Mastery: Encouraging continual learning and mastery of safety protocols and risk management techniques can enhance both personal and organizational safety performance.

  • Purpose: Connecting employees' roles to the larger goal of maintaining a safe working environment can significantly boost motivation and engagement.

Visible Improvement and Intrinsic Motivation

Another concept to consider is the motivation derived from visible improvement. In the oil and gas industry, setting clear safety goals and visibly tracking progress toward these goals can be highly motivating. This approach aligns well with safety management, where the benefits of improved safety measures are tangible and measurable.

Intrinsic Motivation and Human Performance

Intrinsic motivation is crucial in our industry. Recognizing that employees are often naturally motivated to perform well, especially in roles that impact safety, is essential. Management strategies should, therefore, focus on nurturing this intrinsic motivation rather than relying solely on external rewards.

Embracing New Approaches

As HSE professionals, we must recognize the need to move beyond traditional management methods, particularly in areas requiring cognitive skills and creativity, such as safety management. By embracing new models that prioritize autonomy, mastery, and purpose, we can unlock the full potential of our workforce, leading to innovative safety solutions and improved overall performance. This approach not only maximizes human performance but also fosters a culture of creativity and continuous improvement in the oil and gas industry.

2 views0 comments


bottom of page