Edward E. Lawler III

Most companies are operated in ways that downplay the importance of people. They have bureaucratic structures that optimize the value of financial capital, machinery, equipment, and natural resources, at the expense of talent development and the opportunity for people to use their skills. Work processes are designed with simplified, standardized jobs, and individuals are controlled through well-defined hierarchical reporting relationships, highly monitored bud­gets, and close supervision.

The contrast between what executives say about the importance of people and how they manage their organizations is unfortunate at best. At worst, it is a major contributor to poor organizational performance.

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