Be Careful About Proclaiming “Failed Management Movements”!

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    Last week, I got a call from a consultant who lamented the “failure of all those management movements.” As usual in these conversations, the caller went on to explain how his particular idea was what leaders and managers really needed.

    That type of lament seems increasingly common in literature about the need for “transforming organizations” and “transforming society.” I think the lament is simplistic and even reckless.

    There have been many major movements and models in management, e.g., scientific management, management by objectives, quality circles, Total Quality Management, Business Process Re-Engineering, One-Minute Managing, Self-Managed Teams … the list goes on.

    I assert that many of these movements and models became integrated with the others and that many of them built on each other — they didn’t “fail” any more than a recent addition to a house was a “failure” because more additions were needed, or any more than therapy sessions were a “failure” because the person needed more therapy later on.

    I sometimes wonder if the hyperbole from consultants and writers is as dangerous as the situations those people are trying to improve.

    What do you think?

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    For more resources, see the Library topics Consulting and Organizational Development.

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    Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
    Read my weekly blogs: Boards, Consulting and OD, Nonprofits and Strategic Planning.