Study: Executives Still Prefer Classic Management Tools

Compiled By Dave Schafer Despite the emergence of New Economy management tools, executives still favor "tried-and-true" methods for addressing fundamentals of cost and corporate direction, a new survey found. Boston-based consulting firm Bain & Co. surveyed 245 senior executives across over 30 industries in North America for its Eighth Annual Management Tools Survey. The survey examined the usage, satisfaction, and effectiveness of 25 widely used management tools in 2000. By better than 2-to-1 respondents preferred the classic, widely understood tools over get-big-quick New Economy tools such as market-disruption analysis, corporate venturing, and customer-relationship management. "During a year when executives jumped on the Internet bandwagon to seek quick and easy growth, they found no new tool paved the road to riches," says Darrell Rigby, director of the global consulting firm The most widely used tools cited by respondents were the same as in 1999:

  1. strategic planning
  2. mission and vision statements
  3. benchmarking
"The data shows that when the going gets tough, we trust the familiar: managers fall back on widely understood tools that have been successful for them in the past," Rigby says. "We know that people are still hooked on growth. But some of the tools and techniques that people thought were going to supply easy solutions aren't panning out, and people are saying, 'I think this is a lesson I've learned before: diversification is dangerous.'" But the survey found the Web isn't being ignored by the corporate world. Seven of 10 executives said their companies have yet to fully exploit the Internet, and 51% said they were aggressively expanding their e-commerce offerings.
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