THE UNBOUNDED MIND: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking by Ian I. & Harold A. Linstone Mitroff

THE UNBOUNDED MIND: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking

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KIRKUS REVIEW

American business schools fail to produce savvy international corporate managers because the schools' philosophical and technical biases are narrow, Cartesian-based, and one-dimensional--and so don't provide the tools to master increasingly complex marketing and production problems. So say busines-school professors Mitroff (USC) and Linstone (Portland State Univ.) in a rigorous but often murky study of the thought processes that govern business decision-making. Old-style systems-analysis theory goes like this: To fashion a decision that's objectively correct, experts must huddle and reach an agreement based on fact or logic, or else a single expert must mediate among ""multiple realities"" or referee outright conflicts. In what the authors call their ""new thinking"" or ""unbounded systems thinking,"" all points of view and definitions of a business problem (why GM doesn't sell more cars, for instance) carry equal weight, especially if they fall into any of three categories: the ""Technical Perspective"" (which views a corporation as an engineered machine that must he properly streamlined and maintained); the ""Organizational Societal Perspective"" (which treats a corporation as a set of hierarchical networks made up of social and political relationships); or the ""Personal Perspective"" (which asks how things look from the point of view of any or all of the corporation's employees, customers, or suppliers). Known respectively as ""T,"" ""O,"" and ""P,"" these perspectives are fitted into various problem-solving formulas, such as T+O(us)+P(w, us)+P(s,us)=X?; and these are loosely applied to business disasters such as Exxon Valdez or Bhopal. The authors claim that such technological horrors result from excessive reliance on ""T,"" or engineering/statistical perspective; if planners had taken into account ""P,"" or personnel weaknesses and other factors, the crises might have been averted. Hindsight is 20/20, but the authors' prose and prescriptions are far from clear, marred by bad grammar, jargon, and patches of supreme self-evidence.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
Page count: 172pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press