Organisational Change Management Volume 1

What has Happened with Some Management Fads

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"...Nine-tenths of the approximately 100 branded management ideas I've studied lost their popularity within a decade or so."

Julian Burkinshaw as quoted by The Economist, 2014h

. For example, most past attempts to democratise decision-making have been unsuccessful as most of the innovation produced proved wasteful & staff bemoan the lack of understandable career paths.

· Some recent examples include situations where organisations were worried that their rigid hierarchies put them at a disadvantage to nimbler and less regimented competitors. Past attempts to democratise decision-making have not been notably successful, eg

- Google's much admired "20% time" in which workers got a day a week to work on their own projects

- IBM's experiment with agile management, ie self governing teams met regularly (like daily) to decide the next stage of a project

- GE rolled out FastWorks, a system based on the lean start-up movement taken from agile management

"...It appears hierarchy is a fundamental principle of all organisations..."especially established organisations

Jeffrey Pfeffer as quoted by The Economist, 2014h

Since the early 1990s, it was found that many once-fashionable management methods have fallen out of favour with managers, eg

TQM has fallen from 72% to 41%

Customer satisfaction measurement techniques fell from 86% to 60%

Re-engineering dropped from 67% to 38%.

The Japanese career pattern of life-time employment and seniority-based promotion was very popular until the late 1980's but is much less prevalent now

"...Management by objectives works if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of you don't..."

Peter Drucker as quoted by Mike Hanley, 2006

Quality circles started in Japan in the early 1960s; groups of workers met to discuss workplace improvements and to make presentations to management about their ideas.

"...between 1980 and 1982, 90 percent of the Fortune 500 companies had adopted quality circles. By 1987, 80 percent had dropped them..."

Mike Hanley, 2006

The BCG matrix (4x4 management matrix developed by Boston Consulting Group) to help managers make decisions about which products organisations should have in their portfolios and what they should do with them. It was very popular until some research found

"...that it did not help companies make good decisions, and encouraged bad ones..."

Mike Hanley, 2006

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) involved analysis and design of workflow and processes within and between organisations. BPR became synonymous with "downsizing" or "rightsizing" but only 30% showed any positive benefit. It was found that BPR forgot about the people side of things!!!!

It is interesting to note that most ofthe organisations praised for their superior performance, in books such as "In Search of Excellence" by Tom Peters et al (1984) and in "Built to Last" by Jim Collins et al (1994), have not survived the test of time. Some have disappeared, while others have underperformed. According to Gurnek Bains et al (2007), their lack of performance is mainly due to failing to keep up with changing times, ie management practices and business environments have changed, and these organisations have not changed with them. In other words, what has worked well in the past is no guarantee for success in the future.

(sources: Leon Gettlet, 2001a; Mike Hanley, 2006a; Tom Peters et al, 1984; Jim Collins et al, 1994; Gurnek Bains et al, 2007; Seth Godin, 2007)


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