Anyone hiring at the moment?

Mike Stok mike at
Mon Sep 21 21:03:14 BST 2009

On Sep 21, 2009, at 2:10 PM, Ovid wrote:

> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Roger Burton West <roger at>
>>> Frustrating, really. There's plenty of evidence (there's a William  
>>> Whyte study
>> that I can't find a link to right now) that large-scale moves like  
>> this fail
>> dramatically.
>> Unless the objective is to sack everyone and hire cheaper people in  
>> the
>> new place, of course. (Which it probably isn't in this case, but it
>> certainly has been with other companies.)
> The existing literature I've read on the topic make it clear that  
> this generally isn't the plan, but is what winds up happening as  
> people either refuse to move or leave the company after they move  
> once they realize they don't like how things are going/where they've  
> moved to.  As a result, these companies repeatedly lose tons of  
> business knowledge which is locked away in the employee's heads.
> And I've found a reference to one of the sources of this  
> information:
> Other articles I've read deal extensively with large companies in  
> the US relocating to other environments and failing dramatically  
> because they *can't* effectively deal with the loss of business  
> knowledge.

In Peopleware (a favourite read of mine...) Tom DeMarco comments about  
the AT&T move of the ESS1 project in the late 1960s:

Years after the ESS cutover, I arranged to interview Ray Ketchledge  
who had run the project. I was writing some essays on management of  
large efforts, and ESS certainly qualified. I asked him what he saw as  
his main successes and failures as boss. "Forget the successes," he  
said. "The failure was that move. You can't believe what it cost us in  
turnover." He went on to give some figures. The immediately calculable  
cost of the move was the number of people who quit before relocation  
day. Expressed as a percentage of those moved, this initial turnover  
was greater than the French losses in the trenches of World War I.


> Deliberately firing employees and moving is such a stupid idea that  
> it borders on willful negligence.




Mike Stok <mike at>

The "`Stok' disclaimers" apply.

More information about the mailing list