Management theories are organised around four basic ideas, repeated ad nauseam in every business book you read or business conference you attend, that bear almost no relation to reality.
Take no.4 ( 1 to 3 in linked article below)
A fourth wrong notion is that globalisation is both inevitable and irreversible—the product of technological forces that mere human decisions cannot reverse. This has been repeated in a succession of bestselling books—most notably Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” of 2005—and propagated in corporate advertising such as HSBC’s “The World’s Local Bank” campaign. But a look at history shows that it is nonsense. In 1880-1914 the world was in many ways just as globalised as it is today; it still fell victim to war and autarky. Today globalisation shows signs of going into reverse.
But like supplicants to the confessional many still believe forgiveness for failure and sin will be blessed by these business theory friars. If that were the case why is productivity stuck in the slow lane, businesses consolidating rather than growing?
They risk being exposed as just so many overpaid peddlers of dead ideas.
The similarities between medieval Christianity and the world of management theory may not be obvious, but seek and ye shall find. Management theorists sanctify capitalism in much the same way that clergymen of yore sanctified feudalism. Business schools are the cathedrals of capitalism. Consultants are its travelling friars. Just as the clergy in the Middle Ages spoke in Latin to give their words an air of authority, management theorists speak in mumbo-jumbo. The medieval clergy’s sale of indulgences, by which believers could effectively buy forgiveness of their sins, is echoed by management theorists selling fads that will solve all your business problems. Lately, another similarity has emerged. The gurus have lost touch with the world they seek to rule. Management theory is ripe for a Reformation of its own.