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False Prophets: The Gurus Who Created Modern Management And Why Their Ideas Are Bad For Business Today
According to Jim Hoopes, the fundamental principles on which business is based-authority, power, control-are increasingly at odds with principles of life in a democratic society-freedom, equality, individualism. False Prophets critically examines the pioneering theories of the early management thinkers, such as Taylor, Follett, Mayo, and Deming, which intended to democratize corporate life yet have proved antithetical to the successful practice of business. Hoopes challenges popular management movements that followed in the wake of these thinkers and accuses today's business theorists of perpetuating bad management in the name of democratic values. He urges executives and managers to recognize the realities of corporate life and learn to apply the principles of power. He also unveils a new management agenda that will be of paramount significance to modern organizations.A rich and lively read, False Prophets provides a refreshingly new and original overview of the history of management in the larger context of the American culture, brilliantly illustrating its evolution-from the ivory tower to the shop floor.
Management Is Anti-Democratic
By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE
- September 6, 2008
Hoopes' book presents a gallery of management thinkers and introduce their work through the lenses of a political science perspective. Political scientists who use the concept of power to describe economic or social mechanisms are sometimes prone to its abuse: they see politics everywhere, and they consider all references to general ideals or moral sentiments as stratagems used by rulers to obfuscate the brutal exercise of top-down authority.
Power is indeed a key concept for political scientists, as interest is for economists, and both concepts may help them to build theories or propose models of corporate behavior. But management scholars are practically oriented, and they know that power or interests can sometimes be bad for practice. That is why politics is a bad name in a private business setting, and motivation takes many forms other than paycheck retribution.
According to Hoopes, the simple existence of top-down management power contradicts the democratic... read more
By Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract"
- June 7, 2004
Despite its title, this book doesn't say much, or much of substance, about business today. Instead, it concentrates on lively professional and personal profiles of eight twentieth century management theorists of varying impact. Hammer and Champy, who launched the 1990s re-engineering movement, are mentioned only in the conclusion, and the gurus behind managing for shareholder value aren't mentioned. A little less detail about peccadilloes of the long dead and a little more about crucial management ideas that have shaped contemporary business might have made the book more relevant. Interestingly, it indicates that slave owners anticipated some of the progressive ideas in modern management but the author leaves it to the readers to make the connection: voila, contemporary workers believe the cant of empowerment about as much as the slaves believed the plantation master's pieties. We recommend this book for its anecdotal, gossipy entertainment value. It will make you cautious about... read more
A sharp moral analysis of management
- November 23, 2008
Edmund Burke wrote that 'coarse distinctions' are the foe of good judgement. James Hoopes' writing here is no enemy of good judgement. He makes clear ethical distinctions about the moral content of rule by managers and political rule by the people. In the early days of management writing in the slave south - one of the historical highlights of this book - such distinctions would have been commonplace. But in our day, with the spirit of Humpty Dumpty governing the use of language in business, academia and politics, Mr Hoopes' assertion that management is un-American is bold iconoclasm.
But Mr Hoopes is no Seattle street fighter. Showing the moral difference between free government and management is only one part of his project. He knows that not everything democratic is good; and not everything good is democratic. Mr Hoopes praises management for its many achievements in the sphere of business organisation and defends it against those 'false prophets' who attempted to... read more
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