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The Ideas that Shaped Management in 2013

Posted by on in Service-Science Innovation and Design
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It’s always tempting at this time of year to try to make a definitive list of the best ideas from the past 12 months. But then we end up debating what counts as best — important? useful? original? all three? — and compiling extremely long lists, struggling to shorten them, and over-thinking it all, when the point really is just to gather some really good reading for you for any free time you happen to find over the holiday. So this year, instead, we thought about the pieces that most surprised us or provoked us to think differently about an intractable problem or perennial question in management, we reviewed the whole year of data to remind ourselves what our readers found most compelling, and we looked for patterns in the subjects our authors raised most frequently and independently of our editorial urging.  The result, I think, is a set of ideas that together are important, useful, and original, and that feel like quite an accurate account of the management concerns many of us shared in 2013.

Here’s the list.  See what you think:

1.  Leaning in will only get us so far.  If the workplace is going to work for women — and for families — men need to change, and so do our expectations of them.  Their tendency toward overconfidence is often mistaken for competence and rewarded with promotions, and their masculine identities require that they work too many hours and get too little sleep, putting extra pressure on women whose greater home- and kid-related responsibilities prevent them from competing on quantity.  The good news is that millennial men are changing the way they define leadership and demanding work that fits around their families.  And the seven policy changes Stew Friedman recommends would benefit all working Americans.  Note: the majority of the pieces below were written by men.

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