Perhaps the most depressing thing I learned working on a graduate business degree was the extent to which businesses worship metrics. Numerical measurements of whatever. And I get it – running a business carries risk, managers want certainty, and qualitative study doesn’t give you the information you can extrapolate into projections for the next quarter.
But in the years during and since my studies, I’ve become increasingly aware of the ways in which quantitative measures seem to trump any other reason for determining success. This isn’t always bad, but the preference for a number seems to lead to reductive conclusions about otherwise subjective experiences or results. I wish people would prod further and dig into subjective and qualitative findings rather than trying to convert everything to a number that can be charted and tracked by trendiness and measures of central tendency.