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Don Mansfield

Reverse Ageism or Reasonable Exercise of Agency Discretion?

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Reasonable exercise of agency discretion.  For whatever reason the protester's proposal writer saw fit to include statistical information on an arbitrary and essentially meaningless demographic.  I don't see anything in the evaluation criteria that would have required them to provide information organized in that manner.  That said, I think the GAO may have viewed the agency's decision differently if the proposal/evaluation were based on retention and replacement of aging baby boomers instead of millennials.

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1 hour ago, Junius said:

That said, I think the GAO may have viewed the agency's decision differently if the proposal/evaluation were based on retention and replacement of aging baby boomers instead of millennials.

Would that be reasonable?

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My view is that the GAO and Agency result should be no different even if aging baby boomers were substituted for millennials. Rationale: The deficiency was state to be a recruiting process that was based on job postings, college recruiting at one school, employee referrals and unclear timing as to when a recruiting firm would be engaged, all of which appears to be objective and rational and unrelated to whether it was millennials or baby boomers.   

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On 2/15/2018 at 3:44 PM, Don Mansfield said:

Would that be reasonable?

The offeror provided information that indicated that most of their staff is composed of employees with a relatively low retention rate. I think it's reasonable for the agency to consider that a risk regardless of whether or not the concern is employees changing jobs or retiring.  

This is just my viewpoint.  The Merriam-Webster defintion of ageism is: "prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly."  If ageism is a particular concern for the elderly, then I think it's possible what may be viewed as reasonable on the basis of a younger age may not be considered reasonable on the basis of an older age.  In addition, I think there tends to be a bias with respect to attributing certain characteristics to millennials as if those characteristics are unique and/or inherent to millennials.  For instance, is higher turnover a characteristic specific to their generation, or is it a characteristic of *any* generation that comprises the youngest portion of the workforce?  Anecdotally, I have a millennial co-worker who entered the workforce at age 24 and, by age 28, was already on her third job.  In that four year period she was caught up in two corporate mergers resulting in layoffs.

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31 minutes ago, Junius said:

For instance, is higher turnover a characteristic specific to their generation, or is it a characteristic of *any* generation that comprises the youngest portion of the workforce? 

Or is it characteristic of all people who work in today's employment market? Anecdotally, I have an uncle now in his 80s who was hired by Rockwell as an electrical engineer right after his college graduation, and he stayed with that corporation until retirement 30 years later. During most of that time he worked on the Space Shuttle program. That kind of employment record simply is not going to happen very often if at all in today's global economy.

Whose fault is that?

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2 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

Or is it characteristic of all people who work in today's employment market? Anecdotally, I have an uncle now in his 80s who was hired by Rockwell as an electrical engineer right after his college graduation, and he stayed with that corporation until retirement 30 years later. During most of that time he worked on the Space Shuttle program. That kind of employment record simply is not going to happen very often if at all in today's global economy.

Whose fault is that?

I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on that.  When I was getting my MBA ten years ago, the thought process was that the primary responsibility of a business is shareholder return.  Has that always been the case?

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1 hour ago, Junius said:

The primary responsibility of a business is shareholder return.

Ummm, not everyone agreed with that. First, that applies only to publicly owned businesses. Second, there has always been an ethic of corporate responsibility, more or less. But the market is the market, and in order to survive you have to lead it or go where it leads. It no longer leads to career employment followed by a good pension. Everyone is so on their own.

What I told our kids was to start a business and be your own boss. Don't work in a cube. They took that advice. They work very hard. They're not rich, at least not yet. They want things they can't afford, at least not yet. But they're happy. They've got four devoted grandparent childcare specialists, three great-grandparents, five dogs, two sheep, and a number of chickens. A couple of weekends ago we drove up the road and saw a group of trees by the river in which we counted 48 bald eagles.

Is America a great country, or what? If I could teach a high school class it would be "How to start and maintain your own business."

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3 hours ago, Junius said:

I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on that.  When I was getting my MBA ten years ago, the thought process was that the primary responsibility of a business is shareholder return.  Has that always been the case?

I'm currently reading "The Golden Passport"  by Duff McDonald which is a full fledged critique of Harvard Business School (HBS) and some of the thoughts that have come out of there, like the notion that shareholder value reigns supreme (I'm a regular reader of HBR so I'm trying to learn where my "blind spots" might be).  It's a lengthy read, but a worthy one which argues fervently against commonly accepted material that permeates MBA programs (including yours apparently) since HBS is a "thought" leader when it comes to business schools.  If you get your hands on it but don't want to read through all 600+ pages, Chapter 42 "The Murder of Managerialism" focuses on Michael Jensen [one of, if not the most prominent promoters of the premise] and shareholder value.  Here's an excerpt:

Quote

According to Jensen, "It is logically impossible to maximize in more than one dimension, so purposeful behavior requires a single valued objective function."  That's an economist speaking, someone who needs life to fit into a formula.  For the rest of us, the idea of maximizing "in more than one dimension" is something we all try to do every single day of our lives.  Just ask a parent who has more than one child.

And this one seems to fit your MBA experience:

Quote

Recent studies by the Aspen Institute show that when students enter business school, they believe that the purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services for the benefit of society.  When they graduate, they believe that it is to maximize shareholder value.

 

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