What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management

By Jeffrey Pfeffer

There is much to laud about the objective perspective that Stanford professor and author Pfeffer brings to business. First and foremost, he calls em as he sees em, showcasing common management errors and building on four years as a Business 2.0 columnist. Trimming employees' compensation and benefits packages? Nothing is gained from that immediate cost savings, except plummeting morale and retention issues—as the airline and auto industries have learned. Thinking about a merger or acquisition? Think again, he urges; it's an easier strategy than fixing operations—but one that more often than not fails. No function or goal of corporate America is left unscrutinized, from strategy to human resources. Yet he softens his radical and common-sense opinions by offering a range of solutions and companies that practice them well. Pfeffer points to Whole Foods, to Larry Culp at Danaher, and to CEO Gary Loveman of Harrah's as leaders who have managed to set corporate priorities and agendas that succeed. Short chapters with clear-cut messages and examples allow time to contemplate and copy. Jacobs, Barbara

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