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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Scientific Management Past Its Prime?

A colleague points me to a BW article : Scientific Management Past its Peak. Note how this is contrary to my recent post on math management, and Tom Davenport's book recent book: Competing on Analytics, which lionizes corporate analytics work. Also SAS's interview with Davenport, which also points to his book. CEO AG Lafley is mentioned in the BW article:
" ... That is why a smart executive like Procter & Gamble (PG) CEO A.G. Lafley insists on doing in-home visits to consumers (or stream-side visits in rural China) wherever he travels. He isn't going to make billion-dollar decisions on the basis of a few in-home visits. He understands full well that what he sees isn't a representative sample. But he is delving into the mysteries of how products interact with his customers' lives in ways that a big quantitative, algorithmic survey never will.

He knows that his job as CEO is to keep pointing his company up towards the mysteries and heuristics and not let it fall prey to a focus on "algorithmic decision-making techniques and using highly sophisticated software." He and others like him are winning, and that is why I believe that the pendulum is swinging away from, not towards, the extremes of "scientific management." ... '
I come from a quant background, but there are instinctive, pattern matching approaches we need to be aware of. Mixing the two is the art.

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