Business Education’s Loudest Enemy Takes on Harvard

In the space of a 45-minute conversation, Henry Mintzberg called out Harvard Business School for misleading ads, dismissed MBA programs as “overrated,” and declared he’s “had it” with all the focus on leadership. In other words: classic Mintzberg.

Henry Mintzberg

If you want the imagination to see the future, then you better have the wisdom to appreciate the past. An obsession with the present—with what’s “hot”, and what’s “in”—may be dazzling, but all that does is blind everyone to the reality. Show me a chief executive who ignores yesterday, who favors the new outsider over the experienced insider, the quick fix over steady progress, and … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

Quiet managers strengthen the cultural bonds between people, not by treating them as detachable “human resources” (probably the most offensive term ever coined in management, at least until “human capital” came along), but as respected members of a cohesive social system. When people are trusted, they do not have to be empowered.

Mintzberg on Managing

Management expert Henry Mintzberg has played a major role shaping the world’s concept of managing. According to him, CEO bonuses need to disappear and companies should promote “communityship.”

The Offline Executive

A manager’s effectiveness depends not only on using e-mail and other electronic communication, but also on learning to shut it down.

Henry Mintzberg and Peter Todd

Managing is not a science; it is a subtle and nuanced practice, learned mostly on the job, through paying close attention to gestures and tone of voice. This “soft information” is an integral part of managing, and is gathered by talking and listening in meetings, during chance encounters, or on the phone. Using only words ― sending a text message or an e-mail ― takes … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg and Peter Todd

Managers who are in touch only through their keyboard are out of touch with the vast world beyond it. They risk substituting breadth for depth. Recent research shows that we may have more connections today, but fewer relationships. Facebook and LinkedIn can complement but not replace the personal interactions at the heart of managing effectively. Managers who believe that they can learn about their department … [ Read more ]


A half century ago Peter Drucker put management on the map. Leadership has since pushed it off. Henry Mintzberg aims to restore management to its proper place: front and center. “We should be seeing managers as leaders.” Mintzberg writes, “and leadership as management practiced well.”

This landmark book draws on Mintzberg’s observations of twenty-nine managers, in business, government, health care, and the social sector, working in … [ Read more ]

Management by Reflection

Managing author Henry Mintzberg believes that to improve business schools, we must first understand the essence of what managers do.

Henry Mintzberg

You [create a community-oriented style of management] through an engaged management that cares, not a heroic leadership that cures. This means giving up the false dichotomy between leaders and managers. Would you like to work for a manager who doesn’t lead? That can be terribly discouraging. What about a leader who doesn’t manage? That can be awfully disengaging: How is he or she to know … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else. We create clusters of followers who have to be driven to perform, instead of leveraging the natural propensity of people to cooperate in communities. In this light, effective managing can be seen as engaging and engaged, connecting and connected, supporting and supported.

The Five Minds of a Manager

Be global, and be local, you’re told. Collaborate, and compete. Change perpetually, and maintain order. Your many managerial roles are so often contradictory. Here’s how to think through your job better by accessing five different mindsets.

Taking a Closer Look: Reviewing the Organization

The organization chart can no longer help us understand what an organization does. What’s needed in these dynamic times is a much richer diagram that gives us a more revealing picture of a more dynamic organization. That organization can be a hub, a web or a chain. It is critical that we understand each of these forms and how they work in a particular organization. … [ Read more ]

Strategy Bites Back: It Is Far More, and Less, than You Ever Imagined

Strategy Bites Back is a friendly collection of essays and observations on some of the elements of strategy that intimidate people the most. Even readers who fail to appreciate all of the humor will undoubtedly enjoy paging through the book as a refreshing antidote to the footnote-laden tomes that usually make up the field.

The three authors have done a fine job of pulling together and … [ Read more ]

The Invisible World of Association

We have business and we have government. For too many intents and purposes, we have nothing in between. This distinction has framed the great social debate for more than a century: capitalism versus socialism, markets versus controls, individualism versus collectivism, privatization versus nationalization, “free enterprise” versus “democracy of the proletariat.” The debate features no cooperatives, no NGOs, no not-for-profits, no volunteer organizations, not because they … [ Read more ]

The MBA Menace

Management theorist and critic Henry Mintzberg has a few choice words for all you newly minted MBAs: The way you were taught management is all wrong.

Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development

Two decades ago, Mintzberg, a professor at McGill University who was then teaching MBAs at MIT, discovered a profound “disconnect between the practice of management… and what went on in classrooms.” Since that time, he has dedicated himself to the problems of management and management education, both of which he believes are “deeply troubled,” and the latter of which has become the wrong that he, … [ Read more ]

Reality Programming for MBAs

Practically speaking, it’s time to rethink core concepts of management education.

Memo to: CEOs

Business is at a crossroads. Scandal and recession have cast a pall on the way CEOs go about leading their companies. Three distinguished professors send this memo — Five Half-truths of Business — as a wake-up call.

The five:
1. We’re only in it for ourselves
2. Corporations exist to maximize shareholder value
3. Companies need CEOs who are heroic leaders
4. Companies need to be lean … [ Read more ]