Friday, 3 August 2007

Mintzberg on social capital

I've already mentioned that one of Mintzberg's remedies for short termism is to get the analysts of the backs of the corporation. Others are to:

  • Take corporate governance seriously
  • Keep the mercenaries out of the executive suites

But I think Mintzberg's last suggestion is potentially the most valuable.

This is:

  • Treat the enterprise as a community of engaged members, not a collection of free agents. We can start, for example, with compensation systems that encourage co-operative effort. Corporations are social institutions, which function best when committed human beings (not human "resources") collaborate in relationships based on trust and respect. Destroy this and the whole institution of business collapses.


  1. heh .. reading this whilst looking at the banner on your blog almost gave me a short circuit. Mintzberg is unkind in the extreme to those who use the term "human capital".

  2. Hi Jon,

    That's his business. I take what I need from my gurus and leave the rest.

    Incidentally, I think you'll find his real objection is the use of the term human management for people. I don't ever call people this.

    People provide human capital, they are not it. And HCM as far as I am concerned is the management of people FOR human capital, not AS human capital.

    The only reason I can see why anyone would object to the term is that they don't understand what it means.


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