The Management Myth

I had read this sometime during the last 5 years, but John D Cook linked to it this weekend, so I got reacquainted: The Management Myth.

Matthew Stewart worked as a management consultant for seven years, but his education was in nineteenth century German philosophy. Stewart only caught up on the literature of his profession after he got out of it, and was surprised by its vapidity.

There is a lot of good information here, especially Stewart's identification of the genesis of the modern MBA in the mind of Frederick Winslow Taylor. With my background in lean manufacturing, that overlaps with MBA world, I know that the theoretical basis of the business world isn't quite as one-sided as this article implies, but this is pretty interesting nevertheless.

Best quote in the article:

After I left the consulting business, in a reversal of the usual order of things, I decided to check out the management literature. Partly, I wanted to “process” my own experience and find out what I had missed in skipping business school. Partly, I had a lot of time on my hands. As I plowed through tomes on competitive strategy, business process re-engineering, and the like, not once did I catch myself thinking, Damn! If only I had known this sooner! Instead, I found myself thinking things I never thought I’d think, like, I’d rather be reading Heidegger! It was a disturbing experience.