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The France Telecom Suicides.

There may, or may not, be a rash of suicides at France Telecom. If there is, it may, or may not, be due to management’s policies, which seem to be what we can call the American plan:

  • Cut jobs to increase profits
  • Work remaining employees harder to increase profits
  • Give the profits to the shareholders and management
  • Rinse and repeat

In France, the question is being taken very seriously. That’s a big contrast from here; nobody I know of has even looked at how many suicides there have been among American workers at companies with the same style of management. It’s worth investigating; a rise in suicides at a company would be a pretty inarguable sign that management is inept at best, and that the company will be in trouble down the road.

Certainly, economic hardship is related to suicide rates (although not always in a strict correlation), and bad workplace environments are related to suicide triggers such as stress. Is it so impossible that bad managers (and their name is legion, for they are many) are driving their employees to suicide? And as a corollary, that better management could prevent suicides?

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