It is worth noting that the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is old, familiar, and well known. Importantly, there are several analogs to this statement, each of them supporting the single thought that a person should not try to correct or improve something that is already functioning. Such historical personalities as Shakespeare, Voltaire, Giovanni, and others have supported similar ideas referring to the fact that in the effort to make something perfect, a person might ruin what was already good. The purpose of this paper is to provide arguments to justify the position supporting this adage.
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It should be stressed that many people have discussed this adage and it has provoked vigorous debate regarding its real-life applicability. Various arguments have been provided either supporting or refuting this saying. Its common understanding has an implication that the attempt to refine or enhance something might be perilous and result in negative consequences (Van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2016). In applying this scrap of wisdom to the example of business organizations and companies, it can be seen that when giving up good prospects in the name of pursuing the best, management is drawn into spending money and resources yet fails to achieve the intended outcome. Furthermore, it may be impossible to return to a well-established system or strategy that ensured generally positive results. Thus, an attempt to fix a system that already worked well can result in the loss of both the good and the best options. In this instance, there are two considerations: Despite an individual’s or organization’s best efforts, it is possible to fail to reach the best option, and added to that, there is always a chance of losing a good existing option.
In addition, it is possible to provide arguments to support this statement by referring to economic theory. Many neoclassical models suggest that agents (for instance, people) have enough resources to make the best choice among different options (Wolff & Resnick, 2012). However, the search for the best option is a costly procedure; therefore, choosing a satisfactory (good/functioning) option is a rational decision. In other words, continuing the search for the best option leads to wasting resources, and worse, the agent (person) might be left with nothing—no resources and no options to choose from (Wolff & Resnick, 2012). Thus, the fact that an object is functioning implies that it is in satisfactory condition and does not require fixing; it also suggests the possibility that repairing the initially working object might finally lead to its malfunctioning or breaking.
Therefore, it can be concluded that this adage leaves room for debate and argumentation on both sides. Nevertheless, the existence of risk is undebatable. The concept of continuous improvement implies that all actions should be targeted at enhancing performance. At this point, it is crucial to determine whether the attempt to fix something that is already functioning is worth the risk. In the case where a company considers a potentially worthwhile change that is not expensive and will not result in the organization’s malfunctioning, the attempt will be worth a try. However, if the alteration requires drastic measures and might negatively affect quality or performance, the need for change is less certain. Thus, the main issue that should be considered when determining the real necessity for making a fix is whether the risk is justified—or not.
Van Eemeren, F., & Grootendorst, R. (2016). Argumentation, communication, and fallacies. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wolff, R., & Resnick, S. (2012). Contending economic theories. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.