Industryweek 1775 19162managementrewired

Bookshelf: Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons From the Latest Brain Science

May 17, 2009
By Charles S. Jacobs, Portfolio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2009, 207 pages, $29.95

The author takes a leap from the latest neuroscience to its implications for business-world competitiveness. He explains how research involving brain scans, cognitive experiments and behavioral studies should change all aspects of management, from strategies to sales, to leadership. His position: "The implications should inspire dramatic, counterintuitive changes to established management practices that were never before questioned." Jacobs contends that most of what we take for granted about management is probably wrong. For example:

Feedback -- both positive and negative -- doesn't improve performance. He says studies show that positive feedback has no effect on an employee's behavior and that negative feedback only makes bad performance worse.
  • Setting measurable objectives can often backfire on management unless employees participate.
  • Managers who produce the best results are the ones who do the least managing. For example, Jacobs argues that closely supervising employees is the surest way to have them abdicate responsibility, thus forcing managements into a vicious cycle of micro-managing.
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