What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.     The Real Reason Organizations Resist Analytics: If you have devised a wonderful tool for analyzing performance and effectiveness, you may have more trouble selling it than you think. That, according to a post by Michael Schrage at the HBR Blog, is because most of us associate performance analysis with new forms of accountability. And new accountability makes us nervous. In addition, many businesses use controls clumsily, employing them to fire people rather than improve performance. Schrage notes, “What I’ve observed is that many organizations have invested more thought into acquiring analytic capabilities than confronting the accountability crises they may create.”

2.     Why HR Can’t Innovate: One reason companies have trouble finding decent people to hire is that the decent people might be getting scared away. Big companies put candidates through all sorts of hoops—endless online applications, meandering interviews, rude offers—and leave what Liz Ryan, writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, calls the “Last Candidate Standing.” She adds, “The whole encrusted recruiting process (not to mention unfriendly, robotic auto-responders and the unending stream of honesty tests, writing tests and other recruiting hurdles) makes it easy for organizations to hire drones, and it makes it hard for them to hire the brilliant and complex people they need to solve their problems.”

3.     Do Economists Lie More?: Given how much they influence our lives, economists and business people would ideally be honest sorts. But, according to a study by researchers Raúl López-Pérez and Eli Spiegelman (hat tip to Dan Ariely), students who major in business or economics do not seem as trustworthy as we’d hope. What’s worse, they appear (at least in an experimental setting) to be influenced negatively by their majors. The authors write, “Our results indicate that Business and Economics (B&E) students are more likely to lie in our experiment than are students from other fields. Instrumentation with political ideology, moreover, suggests that the effect may be causal: B&E education does more than select students who make this choice; it seems actually to increase the chances of the behavior.”

4.     Dx Comment of the Week:  when we asked what ails the labor movement and what might revitalize it, reader Maverick 18 had this to say:

The biggest mistakes made by unions have been their failure to recognize where technology, markets, and public policy have been going and adapting their organizing and union maintenance strategies accordingly. I still consider Walter Reuther to be the best union spokesperson and union leader of the post-WWII period. It is a shame that he didn’t live longer. He might have led the union movement in a more productive direction.