Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Book Takes a Hard Look at Management Theorists

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Book Takes a Hard Look at Management Theorists

Article excerpt

Companies hire 100,000 of them a year to tell them how to improve and shell out $15 billion in the process.

Consumers spend $750 million buying books they write and that four out of five never finish reading.

They are the 75,000 master's in business administration graduates that are churned out each year from thousands of college campuses. Business schools are spreading like wildfire, reaching the new markets of Eastern Europe and Asia and old ones such as Oxford and Cambridge. Perhaps most importantly, management theorists are changing nearly everyone's lives. From re-engineering to globalization, management theorists are firing thousands of people and throwing them into the street without jobs. Those who stay work harder. The whole situation causes a great deal of fear in the workplace today. At the same time, management theorists could be responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of jobs and making companies more healthy as they face the fiercest competition ever known. At the very least, they most assuredly are making millions for investors and top executives. Scam artists or cunning futurists? On which side do management theorists fall? For an insightful look at the historic and current practice of management theory, read "The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of Management Gurus" (Times Business, 367 pages, $25). Well written by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, staff editors of "The Economist," this is one of the few management books you will want to finish. The subject matter is nearly omnipresent, according to the authors. "Management, more than any other branch of academia, is propelled by two primal human instincts: fear and greed," they write. "However, it is also clear that management theory is bound up with three revolutions that directly or indirectly affect all of us: the reinvention of companies, the reinvention of careers, and the reinvention of government. …

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