THE MANAGERIAL MYSTIQUE: Restoring Leadership in B by Abraham Zaleznik

THE MANAGERIAL MYSTIQUE: Restoring Leadership in B

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An admirable and accessible critique of corporate America's stewardship from a Harvard Business School professor whose field is leadership, not management. In a series of anecdotal diagnoses, Zaleznik offers a disturbing appreciation of how US business has lost its way--and competitive edge in global markets. High on his bill of particulars is the misplaced faith of many executives in quick-fix solutions to deep-seated, long-term problems, plus a consensus acceptance of form over substance. In too many cases, the author argues convincingly, the sell-conscious professionalism of modern managers (along with their ceaseless search for certitudes) yields largely unproductive control. Citing (among other examples) the generally poor results achieved by Harold Geneen's no-surprise style at ITT, Zaleznik points out that wise decisions do not necessarily flow from orderly structures. As an alternative to ponderous, by-the-numbers bureaucracies that rely on manipulation rather than motivation, the author commends neither hang-loose chaos nor trendy expedients. The key to a more enterprising America, he suggests, may simply involve getting back to such basics as communicating an undogmatic (and practicable) vision to subordinates, staying alert (and receptive) to opportunity, the gainful employment of imagination, making ever-lower levels of a hierarchy accountable, and behaving in consistently ethical fashion. As a practical matter, Zaleznik concludes, those in positions of authority must not only take charge of but also assume responsibility for their organizations. Provocative, against-the-grain prescriptions for what ails the captains of US industry.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1989
ISBN: 06-016105-1
Publisher: HarperCollins
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