Management matters

The Sox fought hard, and they have nothing to be ashamed of, but they couldn’t hold, because Tampa Bay is a better team. Not a lot better, and not better in every way, but better. They were better during the season, better in the playoffs, and when they had every reason to be intimidated and disheartened (namely, after Game 6), they weren’t. Getting from the cellar to the World Series in a year is amazing enough, but what’s really stellar about the Rays’ performance is that their payroll is a third of Boston’s. No disrespect to Epstein and Francona, but when an organization so consistently exceeds its objective capacity – the baseball season is 162 games, so “any given Sunday” randomness is smothered by the implacable central limit theorem – better management and leadership has to be at the heart of it, along with the corny sports virtues of grit, morale, and teamwork. Putting together a team like that with nickels and dimes, out of guys too young to be proven goods, is a nice piece of work.

I’m no kind of Rays fan, but I’m absolutely an admirer. Anyway, it’s only about six months until – Pitchers and catchers report!

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.