The workforce of a large British company — surviving at the time on government subsidy (it was the mid‐1970s) — was being consulted over the design of a new warehouse. The session had started badly. The staff wanted to talk about inefficiencies in the new computerised system of ordering which — as it was pointed out to them — was beyond the remit of the consultation as it involved operations, not the building. The architect, on the other hand, was anxious to hear their views on whether the hot and cold taps in the washroom should be separate or mixed — a matter which aroused not a flicker of interest. The message was clear: management did not want the staff to interfere with how the warehouse worked and the architect did not want them to interfere with how it was designed. Nothing much came of the exercise and soon traditional hostilities were resumed.
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