December 31, 2007

Mao Tse–tung

Writing about web page http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10311230

Mao Tse-tung perhaps is the most controversial figure in the history of China. It is believed that Teng Hsiao-p'ing who reform the Chinese economy has once commented in private, 70% merits 30% faults. He is considered by lots of people (especially communists, but openly would not say so) as valuable to the Chinese Revolution, but too many faults when in office and is guilty for the Culture Revolution. There is also a saying, if he passed away before 1956 (the year before great leap started) instead of 1976, probably the image being portrait in China today would be closer to reality.

Mao Tse-tung

The people at the economists, think Mao is a role model for today's manager who should not be managing at all. Maybe they have got a point. What perhaps they didn't capture is what Mao has master the essence of a learning organisations. He had a guiding idea, "smash the old world, establish the new world". Theory, methods and tools took the form of "big character posters" or the alike. Everybody was writing it, and it was everywhere. It is even reflective, one could say, wasn't "Criticism And Self-Criticism" an important part of Maoism practises? Innovation in Infrastructure, remember thousands of red guards gathering in front of the gate of heavenly peace? They were truly empowered by the highest command. They were very innovative as well, citing the words from the little red book (a theory indeed) and question "the four olds".

The people at the economists were right at two things though, Mao is truly inspiring, but maybe in the wrong way. The other is, as put by Rensis Likert, time is a key variable in evaluating management systems. Yes, in the long run, we found out.


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