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February 18, 2007

Management f-LAWS -- Book Launch

HUBS Book Launch       
A book which takes a sideways view of management, was launched at the University of Hull Business School recently. Management Flaws is the brainchild of American professor Russell Ackoff. With considered responses from the Economists Sally Bib, the book is described as a caricature of modern management.
To watch this podcast, click on the following link:
f-LAWS Book Launch at the University of Hull Business School

Posted by ACASA on February 18, 2007 at 10:42 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 16, 2007

Anti-guru of joined-up management

Russ Ackoff, the father of  'systems-thinking', tells Stefan Stern how education teaches us to be conservative and why this is bad for business. Just don't call it a doctrine. . .    

If you were asked to picture what a management guru should look and sound like, you might come up with a description of someone very like Russ Ackoff. Grey-haired, distinguished, softly spoken, Ackoff fits the bill. And also, since he turns 88 on Monday, he can claim the benefit of wisdom earned over the course of six decades studying and working with businesses and organisations.

Russ Achoff
Russ Achoff, author of Management f-laws

Except, of course, that "guru" is not a label that     Ackoff is keen to accept.

"A guru produces disciples, and a discipline, and a doctrine," he says. "If you are a follower of a guru, you don't go beyond his thoughts, you accept his thoughts. He gives you the questions and the answers – it's an end to thought. An educator is exactly the opposite," he says. "You take off where he sets you up for the next set of questions. One is open-ended, the other is closed.     Most consultants are gurus. They are 'experts', not   educators."

So please don't refer to Ackoff's body of work as gurudom and please don't describe his work with clients as management consulting.

"We don't call it consulting," he states firmly. "We make a distinction between consulting and being an educator. A consultant goes in with a solution. He tries to impose it on a situation. An educator tries to train the people responsible for the work to work it out for     themselves. We don't pretend to know the way to get the answer."

To read the rest of this article, please click on the following URL:

Anti-guru of joined-up management

Posted by ACASA on February 16, 2007 at 08:10 AM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007

Modeling Terrorists

By Harry Goldstein
New simulators could help intelligence analysts think like the enemy

Silverman Barry Silverman pecks at the keyboard, and suddenly his computer ­monitor is showing him the view down a scary-looking alley in the Bakhara market in Mogadishu, Somalia. On the big screen, Silverman sees the market through the eyes of his avatar, a software soldier. It’s a detailed scene, on a par with what you’d see in today’s best first-person shooter video games: in the market’s narrow lanes, militiamen scurry about, checkered headdresses flapping. It has rained recently, and the gray masonry walls of buildings surrounding the market are water stained. The streets are empty except for some abandoned cars and the smoldering wreckage of two helicopters. Silverman’s cybertrooper is part of a virtual squad replaying the scenario described famously in Mark Bowden’s 1999 best seller, Black Hawk Down, in which U.S. Army Rangers attempted a rescue after fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid shot down two U.S. UH-60 choppers.

The Ranger that Silverman controls wanders only a few steps toward the downed helicopters before he encounters a suicide bomber who blows them both to bits.

Silverman, an electrical and systems engineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, restarts the simulation. As his Ranger avatar scans the scene, Silverman describes the attributes of each character—or synthetic human agent—he encounters. He knows them all intimately, their motives, emotions, and physiol­ogies, as well as their political, religious, and moral leanings. He should; he and his group created every last one of them.

To read this article, click on the link: Modeling Terrorists

Posted by ACASA on February 15, 2007 at 02:49 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Charles Handy's Comments

Books: Home truths for the office

Date: 01-Feb-07

An octogenarian soothsayer lays down 81 laws for managers who aren't afraid of self-examination. Charles Handy soaks up the wit and wisdom of Russell Ackoff.

This book is fun - not something one can often say about a management book. It's also a compact piece of distilled wisdom. That's because it has its origins in the fertile mind of Russ Ackoff. He has been studying, advising and working with organisations of all sorts for more than 60 years and is world-renowned for his work on systems thinking - the idea that the whole is more than the parts and that any changes to one part of the system will have repercussions on others. Obvious stuff, perhaps, but incredibly important.

To read Charles Handy's comments, click on the link: Charles Handy's Comments

Posted by ACASA on February 12, 2007 at 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 09, 2007

BBC NEWS -- How to avoid the fatal F-Laws

By Peter Day -- Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Presenter, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service

It is always exciting to meet a real subversive, especially when he (or she) is old and wise.

Russell Ackoff was in London the other day to launch a new book and he fits all the categories.

He is 88 and simply bubbles with ideas about what's wrong with the way business works.

His new book is all about the F-Laws, uncomfortable truths about the (mistaken) way most organisations are run.

The flaws come from decades of repeated management mistakes and conventional business teaching.

When I met him just before a packed session at the London School of Economics, Russell Ackoff told me how he came by his unorthodox approach to management and how much most organisations still have to learn.

"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."

To read the rest of this article, please click on the following URL:

Posted by ACASA on February 9, 2007 at 03:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 01, 2007

Towards A System of Systems Concepts

Russell L. Ackoff
Originally published in Management Science, Vol. 17, No. 11, July 1971

The concepts and terms commonly used to talk about systems have not themselves been organized into a system. An attempt to do so is made here. System and the most important types of system are defined so that differences and similarities are made explicit. Particular attention is given to that type of system of most interest to management scientists: organizations. The relationship between a system and its parts is considered and a proposition is put forward that all systems are either variety increasing or variety decreasing relative to the behavior of its parts.

To read this article, please download the pdf file: Download AckoffSystemOfSystems.pdf

Posted by ACASA on February 1, 2007 at 10:57 AM in Classics | Permalink | Comments (0)