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This article is a couple of years old, but it just came across my desk and I thought others here might enjoy it.

Matthew Stewart is a PhD Philosopher who worked as a management consultant for a number of years. He argues that most management is faddish rehashing of old ideas, and not very good ones at that.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200606/stewart-business

I'd love to hear what the MT community thinks of it.

AManagerTool's picture

LOL,

That was right up my alley, sarcastic and laced with cynicism. I loved it! I am having a tough time not sending the link to the McKinsey "They hired me right outta college, Dude! That's why I know you need to cut 10% of your headcount." business analysts that are currently running rampant through our organizaiton.

Must remain positive....must not give in to sarcasm....must not hit send.....ahhhhhhhhhhhh

WillDuke's picture

This article reminded me why I was so happy after leaving academia. I learned to tear apart and shred anything. I never learned to build. Cynicism is seductively easy.

Now I run a business. I provide a service that people need. I provide paychecks to people who feed their families with them. I provide a work environment that is enjoyable.

I built something and I'm damn proud of it.

Oh, and that guy never once mentioned Drucker.

BJ_Marshall's picture

Just a strange observation: For some reason, a clothing metaphor sprang instantly to mind as I read that article.

Yes, some management philosophy is faddish. I know my organization (an agency of the U.S. Federal Government, which is stereotypically inefficient) has been through its own version of Total Quality Management, top-down incentive programs, and all sorts of half-hearted, lackluster attempts that seem to cycle regularly. These fads are like the clothing that seems to resurface every twenty-or-so years: Bellbottoms (now known as "flare" pants or jeans), lots of earth tones (when did brown once again become the wall paint of choice?), alternating short v. tall heeled shoes, etc. I think I've even seen a teenaged girl wear what looked like legwarmers (from the '80s).

And then there are the classics, a foundation that seems unshakable. The things that Manager Tools provides smacks of that solid foundation: Feedback, coaching, focusing on behavior rather than attitiudes, etc. This is like your basic black dress or your conservative suit with a white Oxford shirt. They always work, and they withstand the tests of time.

Cheers,
BJ

TomW's picture

It's a fun article, but t strikes me as odd that he's missing that most MBAs are not reaching management. They are teaching business fundamentals like finance, operations, accounting, and economics. Those are not faddish.

He also missed a big one: it's hard to get past middle management without one.