Monday, November 20, 2006

Focus group fluff and public policy

Glenn Milne heaps praise on a speech by Michael Chaney of the Business Council of Australia to the National Press Club (official text here). Milne's report has Chaney quoting from focus-group research on popular attitudes (although this is not quoted in the text, presumably it has been shared with Milne). This seems to be focus-group fluff but what strikes me is not a single anti-union statement is quoted, it is full of profundities such as:
Keep the money cogs turning: "Money circulating through the system - through various taxations - so that then you can have the benefits, e.g. infrastructure keeps being improved."
Forward thinking: "If you don't look forward, you'll never get there."
There is solid social-science research on aspirationals (a forthcoming paper by Murray Goot of which an early version was delivered at the APSA 2006 conference), but of course this is ignored. David Peetz in Brave New Workplace describes how BCA research has become flimsier and flimsier in its attempt to link individual contracts to productivity gains, but relying on focus-groups to justify policy is truly bizarre.

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At 10:33 AM, Anonymous JL Glass said...


I enjoy reading a few blogs every day and today was your day. Interesting take on things are always found in every blog. I'm always researching to find out what the world is thinking. Good stuff and very entertaining as well.

Keep it up.

JL glass
Minneapolis, MN


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