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Sometimes 'management by decree' can work

Derek C. Slater


9 September 2013


FierceCIO looks at research from Jordan Cohen, PA knowledge worker productivity expert, and Julian Birkinshaw of the London Business School on knowledge worker productivity.

The article points out that the authors, Jordan and Julian, “say their research indicates knowledge workers can make great productivity gains by identifying and dropping or delegating low-value tasks.”

In the research study, the authors advocate three different strategies to make these improvements in productivity. They are as follows:

1.      Leadership by example. The authors share a real-world example, where a group director of a large testing team at Microsoft created a free-agent structure for the team, then stepped back, allowing for the team to self-direct a successful re-organisation.  

2.      Smarter support systems. The PfizerWorks programmeis highlighted as an example of creating a simple system for routing tasks to and from specialists.

3.      Management by decree. The French company Lanvin is noted for the CEO’s declaration of ‘no email Wednesdays’  - an effort to rebuild employee communication and cooperation. Jordan and Julian are quoted: "For a decree to work, you need to be able to enforce it effectively, have a good reason to do it, and a thick skin."


You can view the article online here.


For more on PA's thinking on knowledge worker productivity, click here or contact us now.

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