Out of the Box Thinking for Successful Managers: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Out of the Box Thinking for Successful Managers

1st Edition

By William F. Roth

Productivity Press

229 pages

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pub: 2014-08-15
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During the author’s decades of experience consulting in the corporate world and teaching management theory at the university level, he has often questioned many modern-day management practices. For example, why do so many companies have evaluation and reward systems that force employees to compete against each other while these same organizations preach the gospel of cooperation and teamwork? Why do companies continue to downsize when this practice has proven antithetical to long-term success?

Out of the Box Thinking for Successful Managers explains, in a user-friendly and sometimes humorous manner, why these practices are based on worn-out logic in some cases and complete falsehoods in others. Questioning numerous management practices that have been popular for decades, it details their weaknesses and explains why they continue to hamper attempts to improve productivity.

The book reviews a range of management theories, including Six Sigma, downsizing, and management by objective. After showing where the holes lie, it offers alternative approaches that have proven effective in a growing number of private and public sector organizations, including some that enable a more positive workplace culture.

Illustrating practical application with case studies, the book provides simple suggestions for change that can be highly beneficial to your organization. It addresses the major myths that managers need to examine and eventually do away with or, at least, replace with modified versions that make more sense in today’s increasingly competitive business environment.

Table of Contents

Six Sigma: Or, Here We Go Again

Birth of the Mechanist and Human Relations Schools of Thought: The Battle Begins

Deming and the Systems Approach: Why, Indeed, Is Nobody Listening?

Hammer and Reengineering, or, Once Again with Feeling

Six Sigma, the Latest Kid on the Block

Not Much Has Really Changed

The Alternative and Why We Refuse to Take It Seriously

Downsizing: The Cure That Can Kill

The Many Dark Sides of Downsizing

Alternative Strategies for Cutting Costs

Nugget Market

Dorner Manufacturing Corporation

It Seems That Downsizing Is the Result More of a Mind-Set than of Necessity

Lincoln Electric

International Paper’s Louisiana Mill Goes All the Way

Maybe as a Last Resort

The Myth That Competition in the Workplace Is the Best Way to Increase Productivity

Getting the Necessary Definitions in Place

Now, a Really Simple Proof That Will Make Tough Guys’ Blood Boil

Sad but True

Where Does It Come From?

The Cult of the Coney Island Hot Dog

Rationalizations Pile On

What Do the Psychologists Say Concerning the Roots of This Behavior?

It’s Going to Take Radical Therapy

New World Thinking

Is It Possibly Time for Management by Objective to Bite the Dust?

MBO as a Starting Point

Challenges of a Rapidly Changing Workplace

Why MBO No Longer Belongs at the Table

Once Again, What Is the Alternative?

W. L. Gore

Bidding Farewell to a Player whose Time Has Passed

Get Rid of Performance Appraisals

Largely a Waste of Time?

Real Criteria

To Make Matters Far Worse

Why It Doesn’t Work

The Way It Should Be Done

Coming Up with Something New

A World without Performance Evaluations

If There Is a Better Way, Why, Then

Doing It Wrong: Or, How Can Quality Improvement Efforts Possibly Get So Screwed Up?

Off to a Bad Start

Going the Individualized Route

The Rock and the Hard Place

Planning as a Threat

A Little Dab of Intrigue to Spice Things Up

Doing It Right: Or, Moving Beyond the Baldrige

The Ideal: What We Need to Aim For

Partial Empowerment Just Doesn’t Cut It

Putting All the Things Together into a Model That Works

Ground Rules as the Catalyst

Now That We’ve Talked about What Should Happen, Let’s Talk about What Really Happens

Crosby Gives Them What They Want

Should We Call This Success?

The Baldrige: A Good Starting Point, but Still Not Biting the Bullet

How It’s Done: Or, Stars in Their Eyes

Why the Baldrige Will Never Produce the Desired Long-Term Results

Organizations Tend to Crumble without True Integration

Who Makes the Most Productive Executive?

Making Sure That Employees Earn Their Salary

Another Alternative

Personality or Training?

From Bully to Technology Expert

From Technology Expert to People Expert

Can Left-Brain Thinkers Demonstrate Right-Brain Talents?

Where the Real Problem Lies

How to Design More Profitable Businesses

Turning Support Functions into Profit Centers

The Three-Tiered Reward System Finds a Home The Circular Organization Management Systems Design

Modified Task Force Rules

Planning from a Systems Perspective

The Matter of Ethics

Sounds Good, But

And the Really Hard Part Is

Employees Would Be a Lot Easier to Deal with if They Weren’t So Damn Human

So, How Do We Figure This Thing Out?

The Tie-In between Systems Theory and Ethics

The Missing Piece

Replacing the Protestant Work Ethic with the Development Ethic

What Exactly Is Work?

Back to the Work Ethic

Martin Luther to the Rescue

The Paycheck Takes Center Stage

Still Not Good Enough

Development Ethic as an Alternative

Development Ethic Generates Commitment to Improved Productivity

It Is Time for a Change

Training for the Modern Age

Getting Down to It with Empowerment

But, Hey, It Still Works Pretty Well

But How Do We Change This Scenario?

It Really Does Make Sense, and Saves Money to Boot

All Sorts of Benefits, Big and Small

Is a Better Approach to Improving Safety Possible?

Here’s How It’s Done and What’s Wrong with the Approach

Getting beyond the Hustle

Another Way to Deal with Safety Issues

Worth a Try?

Unions: From Leadership to Playing Catch-Up

Birth and Rebirth of the Union Movement in the United States

Why Unions Began to Lose Their Clout

Where the Real Battle Lies

Too Much Focus on Local Issues?

Need for Universal Healthcare as a Starting Point

Out-of-Control Executive Compensation as a Second Focus

Technology: Friend or Foe?

Back into the Lead

Reinterpreting the Concept of Laissez-Faire Economics

With the Help of Adam Smith the British Get the Ball Rolling

Putting the Emphasis in the Wrong Place

Laissez Faire Adapted to the Modern-Day Workplace

A New Start?



About the Author

William F. Roth, PhD is currently a professor at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in strategic planning, organization design, and management theory. Previously he taught for sixteen years at DeSales University (Center Valley, Pennsylvania).

Dr. Roth earned his PhD in social systems sciences at the Wharton School, his master’s degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania, and his bachelor’s degree in economic geography at Dartmouth College. As a management consultant, Dr. Roth has worked on design and regional planning projects in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mexico, with The Drucker Foundation, the Deming Institute, the Association for Quality and Participation, and with a number of major corporations. Previously, he spent five years with the Poverty Program and the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South. Dr. Roth has authored six books, as well as more than 50 articles in a wide range of professional journals. His published works include: Quality Improvement: A Systems Perspective (1998), CRC Press; The Roots and Future of Management: A Systems Perspective (1999), CRC Press; Ethics in the Workplace: A Systems Perspective (2005), Pearson; The Evolution of Management Theory: Past, Present, Future, (1994), CRC Press; A Systems Approach to Quality Improvement (1991), Praeger; and Comprehensive Healthcare for the U.S.: An Idealized Model, (2010), CRC Press. He also writes fiction and has published several prize-winning short stories.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control