LOVE AND PROFIT: The Art of Caring Leadership by James A. Autry

LOVE AND PROFIT: The Art of Caring Leadership

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Trendy treacle, plus a liberal smattering of prosaic poesy, which makes a largely intuitive and anecdotal case for corporate management as a sharing, caring calling. Wittingly or not, Autry (president of Meredith's Magazine Group) recycles many of the antiauthoritarian precepts first espoused by William Ouichi in Theory Z (1981) and James O'Toole in Vanguard Management (1985). Unfortunately, he does so with more piety than wit. Nor is the author at any particular pains to impose order, let alone organization, on his random short-take pensÉes. After commending supportive, open relationships as a productive business practice, for example, he veers off into a quickie indictment of those who cherish their jobs and the attendant trappings, but not the work itself. Informed by the arguable premise that supervisory responsibilities are a sacred trust, Autry touches without dwelling on a host of executive-suite concerns. Cases in point range from vaulting ambition through data (as opposed to facts or knowledge), empowerment of subordinates, the workplace's evolving values, tact (versus bluntness), reconciliation of conflicts, tradition, retirement, and sexual harassment. As often as not, the author's New Age sensibilities yield loopy pronouncements. Even in context, for example, his solemn injunction to make the act of firing ""a caring confrontation"" seems of a piece with the lament of Lewis Carroll's Walrus and Carpenter for departed oysters. The less said of the colloquially blank verse with which he ends a surfeit of his summary meditations, the better. For the most part, then, sanctimonious, self-indulgent, and saccharine twaddle.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1990
ISBN: 0380717492
Publisher: Morrow