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Monday, April 5 12:00 AM EST

Lousy Managers Are Next Outsourcing Trend

By Dan Barash

San Jose, CA - The move to outsource white-collar jobs is moving up the company hierarchy to the incompetent manager level.

Many US companies are discovering they can find management talent abroad that is just as clueless as the homegrown variety. India has proven to be adept at producing managers who are skilled at not adding any value whatsoever.

“I thought I was too much of a jerk to ever be replaced,” said Joe Morphy, an unemployed manager. “I figured they could never find anybody who combined my total indifference to employees’ well-being with my astonishingly high level of dishonesty. But they found some guy in Asia willing to be a bigger asshole than me for one-tenth of my salary.”

The crappy manager has been a fixture of the American corporate landscape for many years. Executive MBA programs and a smarmy business culture produced a class of managers capable of doing great damage even when under tight time constraints. Analysts have long believed that no other nation had the expertise and drive to achieve implosions on the scale of Enron or WorldCom. But, many developing nations think they can achieve US levels of awfulness if they focus their resources properly.

Professor Rajiv Mehta of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore boasts his school is “as out of touch and unrealistic as the best MBA programs in America.” Many of the faculty cut their teeth on driving US high tech companies into the ground. “Management incompetence is a skill like any other,” says Mehta. “It can be taught and fostered to the point where a high level of expertise is attained.”

Mehta is especially proud of his Business Miscommunication program. “We have not reached US levels of windbaggery,” he says, “but we are steadily improving every year. We are also very close in euphemisms and obfuscation."

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As outsourcing increases, American managers are wondering what they must do to keep their jobs secure. “It’s not enough to merely have no understanding of what your company does,” says career consultant Beth Sharkey. “Even being unable to motivate your employees is no longer enough. You have to think bigger. You have to come up with that one big idea that will destroy the firm’s financial viability. It’s the big idea people who keep their jobs and get huge bonuses.”

Do not expect outsourcing to end with managers. Consultants may be the next group to face foreign competition. According to Mehta, “Consultants having no useful or relevant knowledge makes this an area of great interest to us.”

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