Ackoff’s New Book: Management f-Laws

Russell Ackoff is in London promoting his new book: Management f-Laws (see previous post: Ackoff’s F-laws: Common Sins of Management). A BBC article captures some of some of the great ideas from one of his talks (more articles… by Ackoff). How to avoid the fatal F-Laws by Peter Day:

“Companies and organisations get things wrong most of the time,” he said.

“The average life of a US corporation is only 11-and-a-half years, the rate of bankruptcy is increasing very year. There’s a great deal of evidence that we don’t know how to manage organisations very effectively.

“The F-Laws are simply based on observations over the year about regularities which are destructive to organisations.”

As always he is insightful and not afraid to shake up conventional wisdom.

“We found that we could improve part of a corporation and destroy the whole by improving the part.” From this emerged Russell Ackoff’s obsession with seeing the system as a whole – a personal change which coincided with the rise of system dynamics as a brand new way of looking at organisations, in the round.

He was a friend and associate of the still-influential management expert W Edwards Deming, the man who took quality to Japan and then saw it bounce back to his native US. Russell Ackoff thinks that, imprisoned in centuries of Western education which values only analytic thought, most people cannot do the “synthetic” thinking that sees an organisation as an intermoving whole. Analytic thinking uses research and experimentation. Design is the way that synthetic thinking operates, putting things together rather than taking them apart.

Related: systems thinking postsLearning, Systems and ImprovementFrom Mechanistic to Social Systemic Thinking

4 thoughts on “Ackoff’s New Book: Management f-Laws

  1. Pingback: Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog » Using Books to Ignite Improvement

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