Can Strict Idea Policies Lead to Corruption?

The whole issue of how to set the right level of concerned about a potential corrupting effect.

I am still pondering one of the first of these “ideas are expected” policies, which I encountered in 1987 at Sumitomo Electric in Japan. As I remember it, the policy was that any manager who failed to get an average of at least five ideas per person per year in his area of responsibility (so a VP with 1,000 people needed 5,000 ideas, and a supervisor with 10 employees needed 50) was ineligible for promotion for three years. The CEO did not think this was unfair because the average number of ideas per employee was over fifteen per year — it was simply a signal to managers that they had better pay attention to employee ideas.

The Soviet Union got into trouble by putting ridiculous quotas for ideas onto its managers. A third of their monthly bonuses depended on hitting certain numbers of ideas, a certain economic effect and (most dysfunctional of all) paying out certain reward monies, irrespective of what ideas actually came in.