Magazine article Management Review

Management Fads or Management Basics?

Magazine article Management Review

Management Fads or Management Basics?

Article excerpt

If it's 1996, we must be reengineering our management system.

For 20 years, managers in America and other Western countries have been adapting to or adopting the latest fads introduced by famous management gurus. Before then, management processes changed relatively slowy. Taylor's Scientific Management survived virtually intact from 1922 to 1940. The years 1940 through 1960 saw the introduction of project management and continuous process improvement. From 1960 through 1990, the pace picked up.

We went through "management by objectives", "zero defect" and the rest of the feel-good management strategies. The psychobabble of organizational development experts reached new heights with management grid and job-enrichment programs. Then we went through the Asian-Pacific period with Zen management. Next we were introduced to the management styles of Attila the Hun, General George Patton, Abraham Lincoln and, most recently, Chief Sitting Bull.

We all had the opportunity to spend $7.95 each for a series of little one-minute books such as The One-Minute Manager. Their philosophy was that managers can lead, train and motivate people simply by pushing a one-minute button. Why do we continually believe that the task of managing people is so superficial that we can learn it from simple cookbooks? (How would you feel if a surgeon's bookshelves were filled with one-minute brain-surgery texts?) Technical professionals--engineers, lawyers, financiers, doctors--take their professions too seriously to allow them to be cheapened by gross oversimplification.

Recently, the pace has been accelerated by TQM, which incited almost religious fervor among competing advocates who denounced one another for heretical thoughts. Have we sought the elusive Six Sigma or Deming's 14 Points? Did we jump on the Juran bandwagon--or, better yet, go to Crosby quality college and receive our baton to lead the quality band? …

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