Cage Free Management

Posted by jlubans on December 27, 2021

Caption: Henny Penny (left) keeping her distance in the pasture.

I recently made up a term for a kind of management system or style: cage free.
It was a re-purposing of a term found on an egg carton. As you know nowadays there’s more than one way, including “gluten-free” to market eggs. (There's no gluten in eggs.)
For me, it was a catch phrase* to suggest a better, a new and improved supervisory style superior to ye olde micro-management.
The cage free manager is one prone to let go, to give more range for decision making by the worker.
Well, yes.
But, it turns out - as often happens with management theory - cage free is but a tiny step up from caged management.
Instead of the 93 square inches provided caged birds, cage free gives the hen a bit more indoor space but no access to the out of doors.
While not as felicitous sounding, I should have said: “Pasture-raised management”.
Pasture-raised gives the hen the freedom to roam inside and outside with a cozy covered coop to roost in at day’s end. Of course, the risk from predators is elevated. Risk that effects to both the hen and the farmer or the worker and the supervisor.
The term pasture-raised offers a greater freedom, as depicted with Henny Penny out there with horses and other hens, and almost zero supervision by a manager.
Generally, eggs produced by pasture-raised hens differ markedly- for the better - in color (orangey yolk), size (larger) and flavor. Happy hens.
Well, if there’s any analogy, we do want happy workers, don’t we? Is that not the bailiwick of the “happiness engineers” to be found in the wokest of woke enterprises?
Like so much in human relationships, it depends.
Still, I’ll take pasture raised over the caged option.

*Joining my facetious gluten free management style of the Neo-Boss.

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© Copyright photo and text by John Lubans 2021

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