Msg Digest 11/23 #2
Tues, 22 Nov 1994 09:49:00 -0500

Subject: B-School and Misc
Precedence: bulk

OK, I confess to being out of town and not able to respond. Now I must
respond to some of the content on this list. The power of personality
seems to have overridden reality here.

Let me throw out a quote that got me thrown out of a meeting comprised
of managers with B-school credentials and see how it washes here.

You can have good quality without good management, but you
can't have good management without good quality.

1. There is a tendency for the B-schools to take credit for the work done
by the quality field since the 1960s. At that time the MBAs had
driven American business to the bottom of the competitive heap through
their arrogant "I know better than anybody" style of management. The
Japanese came along and showed that quality was the way to go. This
is the agent that allowed the "quantum leap" referred to by Joe
Raimondo, and, yes, I can disassociate the results now evident in
American industry with an increasing professional standard among

The MBAs at the time tried to copy the Japanese methods and failed
because they were still looking for shortcuts to paradise and didn't
understand that this was a long term thing. You see, up to that time
"quality" was not real big in MBA school. Those of us who have been
in the field of quality all that time found it interesting that the
MBAs finally got the message, but they had to overcome the "black ink
barrier" by first going into the red ink so deep that many failed to

The MBA explosion really does coincide with the rise in productivity,
but it is coincidental with, not because of the MBA explosion. The
rise in productivity coincided with the rise in emphasis on quality,
not with any rise in the quality of MBAs. Many B-schools are only now
adding quality to the curriculum. Harvard and Mellon have just adopted
the 1994 book by Bill Creech as a text for TQM.

I do not believe that Professor Johnson's assertion is tenuous at all.
It is proven in even management books by Drucker and popular magazines
(e.g., Time, US News), let alone the many books in the quality field
that document the fall of American business because of the outmoded
methods of B-schools and the subsequent rise brought about by
adherance to the methods and beliefs of quality. It is true, "the
emperor has not clothes" with the emperor being business run by the
MBAs and the observers being the MBAs. The MBAs fail to notice their

The B-school people are now trying to claim that the idea of quality
is new and is their idea. Witness Hammer and Champy. Their new idea
of "reengineering" is simply a new term for a small tool in the
arsenal of quality. Their contribution was to rename the tool as
"reengineering", glorify it, put it on a pedestal, and say that it has
nothing to do with quality. In my review of their book I said that
reengineering is the fourth board, under the West window, on the South
side of the House of Quality. That is the importance it deserves and
should receive. IMHO, it was so well received only because Hammer and
Champy have the proper B-school credentials.

Dismissing anecdotal evidence out of hand would remove many of the
medicines that cure diseases because they had their origins in
anecdotal evidence that tree bark cures headaches. I will always
listen to anecdotal evidence, but I will also confirm it for myself.

2. The statement is made, "discount anyone who tells you its easy only
if you follow what I do exactly--and pay me for it. I call these
people charlatans." Basic logical extension allows us to understand
that this includes Champy, Hammer, Drucker, Deming and everyone else
in the fields of management and quality (including me).

A similar statement is made, "be wary of people who make a lot of
money telling you how to live your life with only their experiences
to go by". Hammer and Champy are only now gaining their experience,
and that is _after_ they have made their money telling you how to
run your company.

3. Paul Nelson - there is considerable evidence to support the fact that
students working in teams causes greater learning than students
working individually. Try "Super Learning 2001" and "The Learning
Revolution" for starters. There was also a study done concerning
learning on computers that showed the same results, but I can't put my
hand on it right now.

4. Robert Glitz asks how to read a book in one night. The answer is to
PhotoRead the book at 20,000 wpm. Senge can be read in about 10
minutes. Naturally, there is a technique to doing PhotoReading that
can be taught in class for "only" $800, or you can buy a book "The
PhotoReading Whole Mind System" by Paul R. Scheele and do it yourself.

Norman Frank

Norman C. Frank
MCI Mail:  4573434