July 13, 2007

Unconventional Wisdom About Management

An interview with Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management:

Question: What do companies do stupid things?
Answer: First, they ignore feedback effects. There has recently been a lot of interest, and apparent surprise, that programmers in India now cost a lot and their wages have been rising rapidly. Did people forget supply and demand? If everyone moves work to India, what did companies think would happen? Or, to take another example, when companies cut their retirement benefits, and people can not afford to retire, guess what, they won’t.

Second, companies often ignore the interdependence or connections between actions in one part and those in another. So, even as some departments are trying to cut the costs of benefits, others are worried about recruiting and retaining enough qualified people. Maybe the parts should work together.

Third, many companies presume that incentives are the answer to everything, and have a very mechanistic model of human behavior. That is also incorrect.

Posted by James Zellmer at July 13, 2007 7:31 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Culture