To my mind the failure by business but more so governments to understand the adverse affects of measures, rewards and targets is a colossal Knowledge Management failure. As far as I can tell nearly all the research and evidence shows that rewards and targets do NOT work in complex environments. In fact they have the opposite effect of what is intended! But despite all the evidence to the contrary they continue, out of habit, to put their heads in the sand and do not change.
This post from Ron Donaldson on A blind pursuit of targets points to yet more evidence. I really wish I had collected all the stories of the failure of targets by the Labour government over the last 12 years or so. I think there is enough to write a book! As Ron says "Is anyone in Govt health, education or the environment listening?"
This really is a KM issue. We have the knowledge but we refuse to act on it!
But apart from anything else "we really must stop trying to do things to people and to start to work with them".