Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management

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TitleHard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management
Publication TypeBook
Pub Year2013
AuthorsPfeffer, J., & Sutton R. I.
Keywordsaccommodation, false self, humanness, leadership, relationships, reward, work-life integration
AbstractThe best organizations have the best talent. . . Financial incentives drive company performance. . . Firms must change or die. Popular axioms like these drive business decisions every day. Yet too much common management "wisdom" isn't wise at all--but, instead, flawed knowledge based on "best practices" that are actually poor, incomplete, or outright obsolete. Worse, legions of managers use this dubious knowledge to make decisions that are hazardous to organizational health. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton show how companies can bolster performance and trump the competition through evidence-based management, an approach to decision-making and action that is driven by hard facts rather than half-truths or hype. This book guides managers in using this approach to dismantle six widely held--but ultimately flawed--management beliefs in core areas including leadership, strategy, change, talent, financial incentives, and work-life balance. The authors show managers how to find and apply the best practices for their companies, rather than blindly copy what seems to have worked elsewhere. This practical and candid book challenges leaders to commit to evidence-based management as a way of organizational life--and shows how to finally turn this common sense into common practice.
Notes "As Dennis Bakke reminds us in his book Joy at Work, life is not just about performance, effectiveness, and efficiency.[bib]Bakke2005[/bib] The very essence of being a sentient human being is the ability to make choices and take actions--to be responsible, in control of at least some aspects of our own life, and engaged in actively creating the world in which we live. To cede those tasks to others, even others who are benign and possibly wiser than us, is to deny the full experience of being fully human and alive." (p. 199) "If your aim is to bolster organizational performance, there are some sound reasons why work should be divorced from the rest of life, people ought to treat each other differently (and often worse) than in other roles, and employees should present modified and muted versions of themselves at work, even if it means masking or lying about their essential natures." (p. 70) "Not only do leaders overestimate their positive effects on followers, the belief that leaders ought to be in control is a dangerous half-truth because when they wield too much influence and control over their followers, bad things often happen to their companies and their employees." "People derive satisfaction from their social relationships in the workplace. Differential rewards drive people apart, sorting them into categories as 'winners', 'nothing special', and 'losers.' The result is jealousy and resentment, which damages social ties and diminishes trust and sociability in the workplace." (p. 127) "It turns out that a surprisingly high percentage of jobs are idiosyncratic, created, designed, and customized to fit the preferences and skills of some unique person, not because some expert ever imagined in advance that the organization would need that job.
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