From the November Issue The Principles of Scientific Management in , businesses have been trying to follow formalized sets of best practices. From the November Issue . was shifting—uneasily—from a loosely connected world of small towns, small businesses, and agriculture to an industrialized. From the November Issue With the support of Harvard Business School's India Research Center (IRC), I reviewed the literature on the dabbawalas.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Portuguese|
|ePub File Size:||29.70 MB|
|PDF File Size:||13.13 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
Harvard Business Review, November Harvard Business Review, November magazine issue. Harvard Business Review. Accelerate! John P. Kotter. From the November Issue. Summary Full Text; Save; Share; Comment; Text Size; Print; PDF; Buy Copies. Save; Share; Comment; Text Size; Print; PDF; 6 Buy Copies A version of this article appeared in the November issue of Harvard Business Review.
Such a flat organizational structure is perfectly suited to providing a low-cost delivery service. The dabbawalas have an overall system whose basic pillars—organization, management, process, and culture—are perfectly aligned and mutually reinforcing. Cite View Details Purchase. And it does not take many volunteers to get a network launched: Consequently, the dabbawalas have started to collaborate with small companies and canteens that provide freshly prepared meals.
See examples below. If you have a promotion code, please enter it below. This promotion code field is case sensitive so please type all capital letters.
This product is intended for individual use only. To learn more about volume discounts for organizations and license opportunities for consultants, contact Lindsey. Dietrich harvardbusiness.
Save Share. Format Magazine.
Language English. Number of Copyright Permissions. Buying for your team? Add to Cart.
November 01, Harvard Business Review publishes new and authoritative ideas for improving the practice of management. Can these simple principles be applied to complex worldwide problems, including deficiencies in education and health care?
A huge question, obviously. To approach it, we did what we had done with manufacturers: We looked at whether or not schools and hospitals showed a correlation between performance and implementation of the three basic management principles. When we began assessing management practices, we focused on medium-sized manufacturers, both independent and multinational-owned companies that had 50 to 5, workers. With more than researchers accumulating data since , our sample has come to include more than 8, firms in 20 countries in the developed and developing worlds.
Examples of bad management were all too easy to find. Union pressure and labor regulations meant that workers effectively had jobs for life. The only way he could balance his production line was to team up poor employees with star performers, but this practice prevented stars from earning team bonuses and eventually drove them out of the company.
He said his firm was turning into an asylum for the chronically lazy. At another company, the bonus scheme for managers was so complex that it was nearly useless. There were more than 20 targets—including profit margins, sales growth, inventory turns, and employee turnover—with many measured over different time periods and weighted inconsistently. Using a business-assessment tool we developed with McKinsey partners John Dowdy and Stephen Dorgan, we looked closely at 18 practices that fall into the three broad categories: Low management scores abounded.
These firms fail to collect even the most basic performance data and offer few employee incentives. Interviews with plant managers at more than 8, manufacturers in 20 countries revealed what management practices are actually being used on the front lines. Here is a small sampling of interview topics and related questions.
For more detail, go to worldmanagementsurvey.
In a related initiative, we partnered with the World Bank to offer 66 manufacturers in the textile-hub city of Tarapur, India, the opportunity to participate in an experiment involving management practices. Twenty-eight plants at 17 firms accepted the invitation, and we randomly assigned them to either an intervention group or a control group.
The 14 plants in the intervention group got free, high-quality advice from a consultant who was on site half-time for five months to diagnose problems, teach managers, and implement practices. The advice focused on the basics of lean manufacturing—nothing cutting-edge or sophisticated. Essentially, the companies were taught the three aforementioned fundamentals: For follow-up, all 28 factories were visited one day each month for more than a year.
When we started, facilities were often dirty and unproductive. At one textile plant, we heard that a worker had broken his leg when a faulty restraining strap allowed a beam to fall off a trolley. With no sick pay, he and his family experienced severe financial hardship.
It was common for companies in the area to default on their loans and go out of business.
The intervention transformed the plants that had received help. They also became far easier for their CEOs to manage, which allowed for the addition of new facilities and the expansion of product lines. Safety also improved: For example, daily monitoring of cleanliness at the factory avoided the buildup of oil and cotton waste around weaving machines, thereby preventing life-threatening fires.
Having seen the effect on manufacturing operations, we expanded our research to other kinds of organizations. So far we have conducted interviews at 1, schools in the U. Our management scores showed that, overall, schools and hospitals are even more poorly managed than manufacturing companies. One evening, when she was overseeing a ward, she went to a different floor to get new linens for a patient; upon returning, she found that another patient had died from a seizure.
With no process for monitoring or correcting problems like this, the linens policy persisted two years later. The public sector is also strikingly bad at rewarding good employees and dealing with underperformers.
Expect to see more ideas bubbling up through at least two channels as heretofore Western notions of management spread. The first is the academy.
The best estimates indicate that more than , MBAs and other graduate management degrees are awarded in India each year, almost all from programs conducted in English.
Second, consulting firms such as McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group are now authentically global organizations, with their leadership and the bulk of their revenue coming from outside the U. In the last two decades of the 19th century, the U. A rising middle class was professionalizing—early incarnations of the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association date from this era—and mounting a progressive push against corrupt political bosses and the finance capitalists, who were busy consolidating industries such as oil and steel in the best robber-baron style.
Progressives claimed special wisdom rooted in science and captured in processes. A better view regards the two as complementary. As evidence, consider the research of Elton Mayo and the other men behind the pathbreaking Hawthorne studies.
The analysis was largely done at Harvard Business School, including outposts such as its Fatigue Lab. If tired workers were the problem, how to design operations to lessen exhaustion but still achieve maximum output? The Hawthorne studies were easily the most important social science research ever done on industry.
The project is worth unpacking a bit, if only to dispel the popular myth about what was learned.
They turned the lights down, same thing. Any sign of attention from management was enough to improve productivity. After years of experiments it began to dawn on Mayo, an Australian psychologist who had joined the HBS faculty, that at least two factors were driving the results. First, the women had forged themselves into a group, and group dynamics—members encouraging one another—were proving a strong determinant of output.
The intention of the experiment had been explained to them, and their suggestions had been solicited. From such heady stuff were distilled the basic insights of the human relations school—that workers were not mere automatons to be measured and goosed with a stopwatch; that it was probably helpful to inquire after what they knew and felt; and that a group had substantial control over how much it was prepared to produce.
Those insights sound humane, and they were. Dean Wallace B. Then into these stuffy rooms blew a blast of fresh, cleansing air.
Call it Hurricane Drucker. Personal confession: Although I, like every other right-thinking student of management, have long tugged my forelock in ritual homage to the great man, I never fully appreciated what a revolutionary thinker he was until I steeped myself in the work of his predecessors.
Beginning with Concept of the Corporation and continuing through The Practice of Management and Managing for Results , Peter Drucker laid out a vision of the corporation as a social institution—indeed, a social network—in which the capacity and potential of everyone involved were to be respected.
Others chimed in.
Not that the old order went down without a fight. Two forces killed the idea. The other was the United Auto Workers, in the person of Walter Reuther, who wanted no blurring of the line between management and labor. More-enlightened managerial attitudes combined with other forces—a democratization of American society following World War II; an explosion of deferred demand for economic goods—to usher in two decades of good spirits and seeming contentment with corporations and their conduct.
The number of strikes and other job actions dropped precipitously from the nasty levels seen just after the war; union membership, as a percentage of the workforce, peaked and then began the long, slow decline that continues to this day. In addition to its more-enlightened attitudes toward employees, the postwar period brought a heightened sense of what managers could accomplish. Here again Drucker led the way.
This was not good enough, Drucker proclaimed. And managing is not just passive, adaptive behaviour. Consultants felt no such hesitation.
In Bruce Henderson, a former Westinghouse executive and a true American original, started what was to become the Boston Consulting Group. In short order the firm would take as its mission defining corporate strategy —before then the term had barely been used—and bringing the light of its gospel to corporations.
This was no mere shift in vocabulary. The consultants insisted on delving into the numbers behind costs, customers, and competitors to a depth that few companies had plumbed before. Strategy was aggressive. The point of gathering all those numbers was to figure out where you stood in relation to competitors and how you might seize advantage over them.
With graphs and diagrams, BCG relentlessly brought home the importance of being number one or number two in your line of business. By , when John Kenneth Galbraith published The New Industrial State, some had begun to worry that American companies and their leadership had perhaps become too aggressive. Galbraith decried the fact that firms had grown so large and successful—by the largest U. He argued that social goals increasingly were adapted to corporate goals. After two decades without serious recession, the oil shocks of the s and an accompanying economic malaise put paid to the notion of managerialism triumphant.