File Name: peters and waterman 1982 in search of excellence .zip
Waterman, Jr. First published in , it sold 3 million copies in its first four years, and was the most widely held monograph in the United States from to WorldCat data. The book purports to explore the art and science of management used by several s companies. In , at the time of publication of In Search of Excellence , America was looking to Japan as the rising economic force. American businesses were studying Japanese management techniques and looking to learn from their successes.
In Search of Excellence went against this trend, by focusing on American companies and studying what made the most successful American companies successful. In Search of Excellence did not start out as a book, as Tom Peters explained when interviewed in to mark the 20th anniversary of In Search of Excellence. In the same interview, Peters claims that he and Waterman were both consultants on the "margins" of McKinsey , based in the San Francisco office. In McKinsey director Ron Daniel launched two projects; the first and major one, the Business Strategy project, was allocated to top consultants at McKinsey's New York City corporate HQ and was given significant resources, but could not manage to effectively implement strategy.
Peters states that directly after graduating with a PhD from Stanford, and returning to McKinsey, Daniel handed him a "fascinating assignment. Despite being described as "marginal," the project "had an infinite travel budget that allowed [Peters] to fly first class and stay at top-notch hotels and a license from McKinsey to talk to as many cool people as [he] could all around the United States and the world.
There was no theory that I was out to prove. I went out and talked to genuinely smart, remarkably interesting, first-rate people. In a article, "Symbols, Patterns and Settings," Peters argued that "shifting organizational structure" and "inventing new processes" - structure and system, respectively - were only two tools of organizational change. Peters then outlines eight "mundane" tools that every manager has at their fingertips. He described this article as a "tentative presentation" and "the first public expression of these ideas.
In McKinsey's Munich office requested Peters to present his findings to Siemens, which provided the spur for Peters to create a slide two-day presentation.
Word of the meeting reached the US and Peters was invited to present also to PepsiCo , but unlike the hyper-organised Siemens , the PepsiCo management required a tighter format than slides, so Tom Peters consolidated the presentation into eight themes. These eight would form the chapters of In Search of Excellence.
In , Waterman joined Peters, and, along with Waterman's friend Tony Athos and Richard Pascale - both academics - came together at a two-day retreat in San Francisco to develop what would become known as the 7S Framework, the same framework that would organize In Search of Excellence.
The primary "innovative" theme that under-girded what would become In Search of Excellence was that "structure is not organization. An organizational structure is not an organization. In December , Peters left the company, after agreeing to a fifty percent royalty split with McKinsey.
Later co-author Waterman stayed at the firm for three more years, but received no royalties from In Search of Excellence. In the first chapter of the book, Peters and Waterman introduced the background for the book and their research method. They started out by interviewing leaders of successful organisations to get a feel for what themes emerged. Peters and Waterman were concerned with how organizations were organized and managed. They wondered whether structure follows strategy, as Alfred Chandler had suggested.
They used these seven "variables" to create a visual framework, which became known as the McKinsey 7S Framework. They then used their 7S framework as a lens through which to evaluate organizational excellence. They conducted in-depth interviews with leaders at 43 "excellent" companies using this lens. The second chapter of the book, "The Rational Model," introduces and then critiques the rationalist approach. By contrast, a more "social" form of management takes into account the realities of what really motivates people.
This set of real human motivations is explored in the third chapter, "Man Waiting for Motivation. The fourth chapter puts these concerns into a historical context, exploring the evolution of management theories between and the time of publication of the book in the early s.
The latest era of management is characterised as more "social" than "rational," meaning that real human motivations drive business goals and activities. It also more "open" than "closed," meaning that outside forces such as market pressures can shape the evolution of structure and organisation within a firm. This leads to an increasing concern with the ongoing evolution of an organization, and the role of culture in maintaining and shaping an organization. Ultimately, these chapters would be seen in today's terms as advocating for leadership over management.
Leaders articulate values and purpose, and achieve buy-in to vision and values from employees. These chapters set the foundation for the rest of the book, which address eight core themes for the book. Peters and Waterman found eight common themes which they argued were responsible for the success of the chosen corporations.
The book devotes one chapter to each theme. Before and after In Search of Excellence , Peter Drucker was probably the preeminent management theorist. However, while Peters and Waterman reviewed management theory over the preceding eight decades within In Search of Excellence, they did not consider Peter Drucker's contributions to management theory within their review.
It seems unlikely that Peters and Waterman were completely unaware of Peter Drucker, if for no other reason than they cite Drucker three times in the index of In Search of Excellence. Peters himself wrote that he read Drucker's The Effective Executive in .
Peters shared in an interview that when writing In Search of Excellence , he was "pissed off" at Peter Drucker: . After publication of In Search of Excellence , Peters re-read a wider body of Drucker's work, and commented: . In , on the occasion of Drucker's passing, Peters summarized Drucker's contributions to the theory of management: . Peter Drucker presaged and covered similar perspectives to Peters and Waterman's approach to management theory, for example in Drucker's The Practice of Management first edition in Jim Collins noted in Built to Last p.
The omission of any reference to Drucker's theory of management in In Search of Excellence was a serious gap, undermining Peters and Waterman's claim that In Search of Excellence helped develop a new approach to management theory.
This omission doesn't however change the validity of the points raised by both Drucker and Peters and Waterman. There may be issues with their chosen way of structuring this information for presentation, including atomicity and surfacing. These are related, because leaders being hands-on is a way to institutionalise and embed the guiding values. But conceptually these are two different points, and arguably are better discussed as such.
These are different points. So much so that the chapter on "Simple form, lean staff" does not discuss "lean staff" at all. It is covered only in an overview of the chapter, elsewhere in the book. Sometimes there is an idea within a "theme" that arguably deserves to be surfaced as a main theme in itself. For example, the theme "A bias to action" in In Search of Excellence also includes the sub-idea that excellent organizations adopt an experimental approach.
Most of the "confessions" were humorously self-deprecating remarks In Search of Excellence had been "an afterthought One of them, however, used the term "faked data:". BusinessWeek ran an article about Fast Company's article.
Webber , based on a six-hour interview with Peters. Peters reviewed and approved the article prior to publication, but the actual phrase "we faked the data" was Webber's, and Peters had not actually used these words during the interview. BusinessWeek quoted Peters as saying "Get off my case.
We didn't fake the data. As early as it was apparent, to certain analysts, that the book's choice of companies was poor to indifferent. NCR , Wang Labs , Xerox and others did not produce excellent results in their balance sheets in the s. Rick Chapman titled his book on high-tech marketing fiascoes, In Search of Stupidity , as a nod to Peters's book and the disasters that befell many of the companies it profiled. He notes that "with only a few exceptions In an article in Fast Company, Peters remarked that the criticism that "If these companies are so excellent, Peters, then why are they doing so badly now," in his opinion "pretty much misses the point.
The research methodology employed by the authors of this book is also severely criticized by Phil Rosenzweigh in his book "The Halo Effect"  as the "Delusion of Connecting the Winning Dots". Rosenzweigh opines that it was not possible to identify the traits that make a company perform simply by studying already-performing companies which Peters and Waterman did. Almost 40 years after its original publication In Search of Excellence remains a widely read classic, and an influential book for leaders and managers.
A panel of experts convened by Forbes rated In Search of Excellence as the most influential business and management book from the decades between and Inc magazine reported that by March , In Search of Excellence had sold over 4.
Since In Search of Excellence had equalled this level of sales in , and presumably made further sales in the succeeding 17 years, there is an argument to be made that In Search of Excellence is either the best-selling business book of all time or the equal best-selling business book of all time. Tom Peters identified several key contributions from the book, that changed the field of future management books.
First was the reorientation from a focus on strategy to recognising the importance of "soft" aspects of business like culture and people. Second was the use of research and specific case studies to bring ideas about management to life:. In Search of Excellence opened up the way for further research and publication around excellence in business. Third, Peters reflected that In Search of Excellence brought management ideas to a broader audience than previous theorists like Peter Drucker had reached.
From that perspective, many of the points made in the book are timeless rather than ephemeral - and they stand strong today. In Search of Excellence is not widely regarded as being great at predicting future success for individual "excellent" companies. However, the set of "excellent" companies studied, as a whole, still outperformed the market.
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