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Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense

Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense

The authors reveal the potential harm of dangerous half-truths about managing people and organizations.

Auteur(s) : Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert Sutton

Éditeur : Harvard Business Review Press

Date de parution : 2006

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Company conference rooms the world over are ringing with a major number of peremptory affirmations, e.g. “Strategy is the key to business success,” “Companies must change or die,” “Financial incentives are what motivate people,” etc. For Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton, two emeritus professors at Stanford University, these slogans and beliefs are not necessarily false, but are only “half-truths.” Taking them too literally can be dangerous, for they may lead to poor decisions. The important thing is to get back down to the facts.
In Chapter 7, the authors tackle the preconceived notion that today’s hypercompetitive environment implies that companies must necessarily change or die. They use proven numbers and compiled studies to show that there is no evidence that the very fashionable trend in recent years to make changes—mergers & acquisitions, installing ERP, reengineering, etc.—has had a truly beneficial impact on the companies that have undertaken them – quite to the contrary. They have therefore established a list of questions that any manager should ask himself or herself to verify the advisability of a potential change project.


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