Guide to the Management Gurus: Shortcuts to the Ideas of Leading Management Thinkers

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9780091748104: Guide to the Management Gurus: Shortcuts to the Ideas of Leading Management Thinkers

A resume of the work of 40 leading business management thinkers of the 20th century, including Michael Porter, Tom Peters, Henry Mintzberg and Ted Levitt. The author is Executive Editor of "Director" magazine and was voted Business Writer of the Year, 1990 (PPA Awards), and has also written "ICI: The Company That Changed Our Lives", "Mayfair: A Social History" and "Harewood: The Life and Times of an English Country House".

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‘Frequently Asked Questions’ answered by bestselling author, Carol Kennedy WHAT MAKES A MANAGEMENT GURU? Largely good timing, good marketing and an entertaining lecture style. Tom Peters and Robert Waterman started the guru craze in 1982 with In Search of Excellence, still the world’s best-selling business book. Their timing was perfect: US firms, worried by Japanese competition, were desperate for reassurance that they could excel in world markets. Peters set out to market himself and is now the world’s highest paid business speaker. Most gurus come out of the US business schools, and begin by getting published in Harvard Business Review. An HBR article is often expanded into a successful book; then come the lectures and lucrative consultancy work. European industry isn’t yet geared to the guru business, nor is Asia - in Japan, it tends to be top businessmen who have the management ideas. In America, the whole idea of self-improvement is a powerful one, wheth! er it relates to an individual or a company. WHO ARE THE OTHER TOP NAMES? Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, who has "branded" himself in competitive strategy; Gary Hamel, a former Stanford professor who sprang to fame in 1994 as co-author of Competing for the Future, a book that showed businesses how to leapfrog competitors by maximising their "core competencies"; and Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the only female global guru, whose big ideas include empowerment in organisations and making big corporations act like small entrepreneurs. Many top theorists acknowledge their debt to ideas first advanced over 40 years ago by Peter Drucker, the 89-year-old godfather of management gurus. AREN’T THEIR IDEAS OFTEN JUST COMMON SENSE? Very few ideas in business are totally original - re-engineering, for example, is basically an updating of Frederick Taylor’s "scientific management" of the 1900s. And though it seems common sense now to treat employees as people rather than units of p! roduction, it was a radical novelty 70 years ago when Elton Mayo made his famous workplace lighting experiments at Weter Electric’s Hawthorne plant in Chicago. Taylorism - the pursuit of production efficiency - and the human relations movement that developed in reaction to it are the two main branches of management thought from which most theories evolve. WHY IS THERE A BOOM IN THE GURU INDUSTRY? Technology and globalisation have brought such challenges and rapid change to business that managers are always looking for "magic bullet" solutions. If one doesn’t work, they will try another - and another. HAVE ANY GURUS REALLY CHANGED BUSINESS? A few have. F.W.Taylor’s "one best way" to perform every manual task revolutionised industrial production in the 1900s, and its influence goes on to this day: techniques such as just-in-time manufacturing owe a debt to Taylor, as does virtually every standardised procedure in service industries - think of McDonald's burger flippers. Qu! ality control, pioneered in the 1950s by W.Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran in Japan (their native USA ignored them until the 1980s) has entirely changed manufacturing from inspection for faults in finished products to designing quality into the processes. There is also the underrated Douglas McGregor, who invented Theory X and Theory Y in the 1950s - the Theory X manager treats workers as naturally lazy, unwilling to take responsibility and needing carrot and stick, while the Theory Y manager believes that everyone wants to shine in their job. Theory Y gave rise to the concept of self-managing teams and a plant McGregor designed for Procter and Gamble worked so brilliantly that it remained a trade secret for 40 years. A recent pair of US gurus, David Norton and Robert Kaplan, have seen their Balanced Business Scorecard adopted by major companies round the world to measure performance in "soft" areas such as customer satisfaction and organisation learning. HOW CAN ONE TELL IF! ! A MANAGEMENT THEORY IS JUST A FAD? The life cycle of the average management theory has been calculated at 11-12 years from its first appearance in the business schools. A few really big ones, like quality control, become a permanent part of business life. Re-engineering burned out quickly in its first superficial applications, and could be classed as a fad, but now that its human dimension is being re-thought, it has more potential staying power.

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