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Bogus Theories, Bad for Business The follies of ‘management science’...
WSJ ^ | 05 August 2009 | PHILIP DELVES BROUGHTON

Posted on 08/06/2009 8:24:39 AM PDT by AreaMan

Bogus Theories, Bad for Business The follies of ‘management science’ and the consulting that promotes it.

By PHILIP DELVES BROUGHTON

Three years ago, Matthew Stewart published a ­provocative article in The Atlantic magazine blasting modern management theory and ­education. His advice to anyone considering an MBA was “don’t go to business school, study philosophy.”The ­secrets of business, he said, were to be found in ­history, literature and the classic ruminations on life and existence, not in the half-baked ramblings of ­business academics, consultants and “gurus.” In “The ­Management Myth,” he expands the Atlantic article into a devastating bombardment of managerial ­thinking and the profession of management consulting. As a former management consultant, Mr. Stewart lived long enough in the belly of the beast to know its ­nature.

Mr. Stewart quotes Bruce Henderson, the founder of the ­Boston Consulting Group, who describes consulting as “the most improbable business on earth” and who goes on to ask: “Can you think of anything less ­improbable [sic] than taking the world’s most ­successful firms, leaders in their businesses, and ­hiring people just fresh out of school and telling them how to run their ­businesses, and they are willing to pay ­millions of dollars for their ­advice?”

Yet jobs at ­consulting firms are still the brass ring for many graduates from elite schools. Chief ­executives continue to blow shareholder money on teams of ­outside consultants, and business schools and ­corporate ­managers routinely ­promote management as a ­science—which might all be fine, Mr. Stewart says, if the effects of management consulting were trivial.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: business; management; philosophy; science

1 posted on 08/06/2009 8:24:39 AM PDT by AreaMan
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To: AreaMan

Agree with the reviewer’s comments on Michael Porter...


2 posted on 08/06/2009 8:30:45 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

All of the successful consultants I have known have simply
asked the employees what needed to be done make improvements then reworded these recommendations into PHD Piled Higher and Deeper.

Why couldn’t the employees make the recommendations internally? Politics. Almost all business organizations are set up to punish those that make internal recommendations,especially those that make their supervisors look foolish.

And, if the recommendation succeeds the credit will likely go to someone else. However if it fails, then the employee gets the shaft.


3 posted on 08/06/2009 8:42:11 AM PDT by oldpass
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Concur. Michael Porter is a gas bag. Someone did a study on the companies that Porter tauts as excellent and they underperfomed (in terms of stock returns) the companies he said were not excellent.

Management as a field has always been a joke. University of Chicago focuses on accounting and finance almost exclusively. Management faculties as business schools are like welfare cases — they produce lousy research, no student wants to take their courses, and they fight brutally to change the rules to get more raises, and other perquisites against any reasonable model of resource allocation.


4 posted on 08/06/2009 8:45:07 AM PDT by whitedog57
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To: AreaMan
A consultant is someone of whom you ask the time. He looks at your watch, tells you the time, then keeps the watch.

A consultant is someone who knows 100 ways to make love but doesn't have a girlfriend.

5 posted on 08/06/2009 8:52:23 AM PDT by trad_anglican
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To: trad_anglican

6 posted on 08/06/2009 8:58:24 AM PDT by AreaMan
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To: AreaMan
The only good reason to hire consultants is when you know what needs to be done, but can't get it done for merely political reasons.

Hiring consultants to "discover" what you already know and implement it, allows you to get what you want done while shifting the political backlash to the consultants.

7 posted on 08/06/2009 9:50:13 AM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear (These fragments I have shored against my ruins)
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

I see you truly understand consulting. In this role they are quite valuable.


8 posted on 08/06/2009 11:41:41 AM PDT by texmexis best (uency)
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To: texmexis best

That and if the consultants are young and cute, then the morale of middle-aged managers can be temporarily improved ... at least until the wives find out.


9 posted on 08/06/2009 3:00:08 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear (These fragments I have shored against my ruins)
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To: AreaMan

MBA gas bags bump for later..........


10 posted on 08/06/2009 7:59:24 PM PDT by indthkr
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