A co-worker was speaking (positively) to our boss about a programmer in a team she knows in another company, where the programmer was pointing out the "right things" to his bosses. Apparently he was telling them about how their project is about automating things, but even small tasks were being manually done by the team.
My boss promptly said "Well...if he's doing that he might get fired soon".
What my boss said surprised me, since he generally speaks of such things when they are standard managerial practices. I've noticed this in other companies (and universities) too, where if a person just starts suggesting steps for improvement, the managers start getting wary. They try to shunt the person or put them into a path of failure and eventually get them fired. Even if the persons suggestions are perfectly valid and would do the company good.
Is this a standard, accepted practice that a person who points out faults in the system should be subdued even if their actual interest is just to make things better? Wont it affect company culture?
- The person won't come up with any more innovative ideas which could help the company.
- The co-workers see what happened to him and turn into zombies who are too afraid to offer any real solutions even when asked, because they are just too scared of being perceived as "rocking the boat".
- It makes the people more dependent on the managers for every single decision. People will stop taking initiative for anything at all.
Is it still worth doing the shunting / firing, given that the above three consequences (I've seen all three actually happening) would hamper the company functioning and culture?
On the other hand, such a person if encouraged, could also end up being disruptive. I assume the shunting is a recognition of the disruptiveness that would eventually happen.
On a side note; what could such people (the ones who are bubbling with ideas and suggestions) do to help the company and yet stay out of trouble?
UPDATE: So I found out that my boss said this because he knows how the politics in the parent company works. Also because he personally dislikes that programmer (he had worked on a project with him earlier).