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« Some thoughts on WSJ’s “The End of Management” by Alan Murray | Main | What values are driving your organization? »

August 24, 2010


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Stan Yanakiev


You wrote: "Now outsourcing and downsizing are seen in their true light as destroying the medium term capacity of the firm to compete." Do you think outsourcing is inherently wrong and incompatible with Radical Management and if so, why? For instance if a company like Coca-Cola and Wal Mart decides to outsource their non-core IT functions to an IT equipment and service supplier like HP or IBM can't that be seen as a step towards delighting their clients better?

Steve Denning


I agree that this sentnce, viewed alone, might be a slight over-statement, i.e. to say that outsourcing is always a bad thing. I have written elsewhere about a truly 21st Century firm -- Li & Fung -- which has outsourced all its manufacturing. It focuses its expertise on how to bring all the pieces together, so as to generate long-term value for everyone: But when outsourcing is a short-term gadget to appear to save costs, which is the way it is usually used, then it is indeed a short-term "win", but a medium term disaster.


Martijn Linssen

Magnificent Steve.

We all gave in and commoditised ourselves and people in general with the start of the Industrial Revolution. Now, over half a century after the Second World War ended, we can look back and make up the balance - and an ugly one it is from a human standpoint

Still, in Asia that history continues, and Africa can't even afford to neglect it

Outsourcing is what I call an out-of-sight-out-of-heart solution: in stead of outsourcing the labout-intensive, repetitive boring work, we outsource the mistaken gems: customer and employee service. Both customer as employee of course form the very fundamentals we build a business on, yet our management is so focused on itself and its surroundings that is has taken enough distance to do so

You're introducing the concept of finite versus infinite, a very powerfull one. Have you read John Hagel and John Seely Brown's Push / Pull books? If not, I'm positive that you'll enjoy them

Thanks. Change will occur and is occurring already, and it will take time - but I love the horizon I'm seeing

Steve Denning



I agree. The Power of Pull is terrific. My review of it is here:

The finite vs infinite issue is discussed in more depth in James Carse's book, Finite and Infinite Games--a truly wonderful book, from which I learned so much.


John Tropea

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