Campbell’s Law and why Outcome Measurement is a Dead Cobra | What's the Pont
Chris Bolton recently published a piece on his blog What’s the Pont that caught our attention.
In the post, he drives home three main points:
We live in a complex world and attempting to control and measure it by breaking it up into smaller parts (reductionism) doesn’t work like you think it does.
People will change their behaviour to achieve targets that are being used to measure their performance. Campbell’s Law describes this change in behaviour as ‘corruption pressures’ which in extreme cases can be ‘corrupt’.
When people are ‘gaming’ (a less threatening word than corrupting) measurement system, you often get unintended negative consequences.