Monthly Archives: May 2010

Ravi Mattu

Just a quick post to say that this is the last on the management blog. As Stefan predicted a few months ago, a new mantra of the modern world of work is to do “more with less”. Well, that may have proved true in our cases.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the FT isn’t covering management, so please do keep an eye on Stefan’s column, our management page and for the latest news from the world’s business schools, go to our Business Education section or check out our very interesting MBA Blog, where students relay the joy – and the occasional trauma – of pursuing an MBA.

Thanks for reading and keep your eyes open – the Management Blog may reappear in the future.

Stefan Stern

I always look forward to Michael Maccoby’s visits to London. He is a wise and insightful observer of the world. I reviewed his most recent book The Leaders We Need for the FT a couple of years ago.

Last week he was in town, and he told me about the senior corporate executive who had once said to him: “Don’t ask business to save the world.” What the executive meant was that all the talk of do-gooding, of CSR, of ethical business, was all very well. But in the end private sector businesses have to make a proft to survive, and nothing can get in the way of that.

The kicker to the comment was the acceptance that better regulation – government intervention – very well may be necessary to save the world, and business would have to realise this too. “Give us a better game to play,” this executive had said.

Michael Maccoby explained it like this: if the game of soccer (football) was getting too dangerous, if people were regularly breaking their legs, you might want to change the rules. But you would still want the game to remain essentially the same. Maybe some of the rules of business will have to change if we want to save the world – on carbon, on water, on waste. But it will still be business. Governments and business will just have to work together on this.

Stefan Stern

I wonder what those business leaders, who lent their names to various political campaigns in the run-up to the British election, feel about the negotiations that have gone on these past few days in London? Did they strike them as being businesslike, orderly, professional? Is this how they would like to hand over power to their successors?

Business and politics rarely mix well, as I have noted here before. The last five days have only served to confirm me in that view. I wonder if businesspeople will be so quick to come forward to support any of the parties before the next election, whenever it is.

Ravi Mattu

My very smart and funny colleague Lucy Kellaway has just released a novel about love in the office, called In Office Hours, published by Penguin. If you like reading Lucy’s columns (on work, on office problems and as ‘Martin Lukes’) – and I haven’t met a single reader who has anything but enthusiastic things to say about her – then you really should buy this book. It’s a roaring read.

It will not be published in the US until next year but you can buy it at Amazon’s UK site.

Ravi Mattu

The Phoenix Suns, the NBA basketball team in the midst of the playoffs, played last night’s game in jerseys that changed their name from The Suns to “Los Suns” in protest against the state of Arizona’s new immigration law.

It’s a pretty radical step for a mom-and-pop brand but it may have worked: they won the game against the San Antonio Spurs (who would have altered their uniforms if they had had enough time to) to take a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series.

Stefan Stern

Well done Harvard. That is my immediate reaction to yesterday’s news that Nitin Nohria, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, will be taking over as the schools’s new dean on July 1. He is not the “safety first” candidate. He is on the record as having declared – in the Harvard Business Review, no less – that managers have “lost legitimacy” in the wake of corporate scandals, and that business has a lot of work to do to win back the public’s trust.

Together with his colleague Rakesh Khurana, Prof Nohria has challenged the orthodoxy that claimed there was little wrong with the conventional MBA syllabus or with the approach taken by the élite business schools. Both of these things played a part in contributing to the over-confident mentality which dominated business and finance, and which led to the great financial crisis. By appointing Prof Nohria, Harvard University has signalled that it is not frightened of debate, or reform – indeed, it wants to play a leading role in both these activities.

Stefan Stern

Just about to take part in a conference call with Harvard President Drew Faust and Professor Nitin Nohria, who has today been named as the new Dean of Harvard Business School. He will take over on July 1.

This is an exciting appointment. Prof Nohria, with his colleague Rakesh Khurana, has led a vigorous debate on business ethics and the need to reform the MBA.

There will be a short news item on later today and more in the paper from my colleague Della Bradshaw in due course.

About the authors

Stefan Stern writes a column on Tuesdays on management. He is winner of the 2010 Towers Watson award for excellence in HR journalism, and has previously won awards from the Work Foundation and the Management Consultancies Association.

Ravi Mattu is the editor of Business Life, the FT's management features section, and a former editor of the Mastering Management series. He joined the FT in 2000 from Prospect magazine

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