Lean Blog Audio — Rewriting the Management Gospel: Lessons from Hayes, Abernathy, and the Frontlines of Industry

Blog Post

Professors Robert H. Hayes and William J. Abernathy have harsh words about a common, if not typical style of American management:

“…an overdependence on analytical detachment – what they call ”managerial remote control.”

They say it is an approach that exalts financial analysis, not line operations. It rewards executives who see their company primarily as a competing set of rates of return, who manage by numbers and computer printouts.

Further, they say, it is a seductive doctrine that promises the bright student a quick path to the top and that piles its rewards on executives who force through impressive short-term performance, at indeterminate cost to long-term health.

Fearing any dip in today's profits, American companies keep research and technology on short rations, skimping the investment critically needed to insure competitiveness tomorrow.”

These are warnings about:

  • Prioritizing financial analysis over an operations focus
  • Emphasized and rewarding short-term performance over long-term perspectives

Is that from a recent article that I've read? Yet another article about Boeing's troubles?

No. It's a 1982 article in the New York Times. Hat tip to Tom Ehrenfeld for sharing it with me.

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