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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mintz(berg)-ing his words....

If you are teaching a course on organizations (as I am), it is all but impossible to avoid using the work of Henry Mintzberg. Starting with his groundbreaking attempt in the early 1970s to study what managers really do and his comprehensive textbook treatment of organization structure in the 1980s,(e.g., here and here) through his extensive critique of strategic planning in the 1990s (e.g., here and here) (see cv here), Mintzberg is on track to become as important a "guru" in management and organization studies as the late Peter Drucker. The difference is that while Drucker has been treated as Buddha-like, a fount of wisdom whose every word was (and is still) to be taken as authoritative, Mintzberg is perceived as a brash critic who has used his intellectual pulpit to take on the management powers-that-be.

In Mintzberg's case it is a reputation well earned -- and one he continues to savor.

And thank goodness for that.

Examples are found at his personal web site where he provides links to an interview in which he questions the value of an MBA education, a published commentary in the major Canadian medical journal where he goes after the outrageous pricing practices of pharmaceutical companies (and calls for price regulation), and an unpublished essay on the coming economic "collapse of 2008" that will result from the superficial and dangerous effort to maximize productivity.

Brlliant stuff....

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Anonymous Dan Smith said ... (10:08 AM) : 

One of the reasons I have always loved public administration is that it (as a field) has battled against becoming parochial from the beginning and continues to do so today. I think it's great that a superior social scientist such as Professor Mintzberg is not afraid to fight against the myriad parochialisms in the business world.


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