WINNING STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING PEOPLE: A Task Directed Guide by Robert & Rita Wolenik Irwin


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A sketchy guide whose authors make effective employee relations sound more a matter of quick-fix strategems than strategy. Irwin and Wolenik (a husband/wife consulting team) offer an expedient 15-point program that provides uneven coverage of personnel procedures ranging from recruitment through termination. At the outset, they focus on the minutiae of the hiring process, including preparation of job descriptions that attract qualified candidates, screening r‚sum‚s, and conducting productive interviews. As often as not, their tricks-of-the-trade counsel is disingenuous if not unethical. To get the lowdown on applicants' competence and character, for example, they advise prospective employers to practice deception when querying references. Nor do they seem to mind reaching a wealth of wholly obvious conclusions, e.g., that interviewers learn more by listening than by talking. Summarily dismissing management-by-objective as a ""no-brainer,"" lip-service technique, Irwin and Wolenik advance an alternative of their own, dubbed management through achievement. Meagerly documented, its essence is that: ""The greatest motivating force in the world is the desire to succeed. Show a person how he or she can succeed and they will do anything for you."" In this debatable context, the authors assess the utility of various carrots and sticks--encouragement, praise, criticism, reprimands, and so on. Again, they do not shrink from endowing common-sense courses of action with breakthrough aspects: for example, the solemn declaration that promotions should be restricted to those equipped to handle greater responsibilities; bonuses suffice for rewarding accomplishment. Beyond the injunction to leave a paper trail, however, the vaguely cautionary material on demotions, pay cuts, transfers, and firing is so general as to be useless. At best, inch-deep analysis that delivers little in the way of insight, much less intelligence, for either corporate executives or human-resources pros.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Watts