Philip Whiteley's Blog

November 4, 2014

Time for a new shift

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 10:08 am

It is coincidence that the word ‘shift’ appears in my 2013 book on business and leadership; and in the new opus by Professor Vlatka Hlupic, with whom I am working this autumn. A coincidence, but a telling one.

One of the challenges that I’ve come across is the same that Vlatka has encountered: the dominant approach to business management in the past few decades – encompassing governance, leadership and people management – is so fundamentally flawed that there is a need for more than just a change in tactics and approaches, but a more deep-rooted shift in perceptions and concepts.

So, New Normal Radical Shift, Gower Publishing 2013, by Philip Whiteley and Neela Bettridge; and The Management Shift, Palgrave Macmillan 2014 by Vlatka Hlupic, pick up different elements in this huge quest: finally to convince the MBA schools and related worlds that the company is behavioural, and that people management really really matters. It’s a shift, or a quantum leap; whichever metaphor you prefer. What it is not is just referring in a token way to ‘the people side’ of management etc etc – because our insight reveals that ultimately there is no other side.

Consider the dreadful, unhelpful, inaccurate metaphors that come from the recently trendy belief that the company is just a revenue-maximizing machine:

  • Human resources
  • Agency theory
  • Maximizing shareholder value
  • Business process re-engineering

They’re not simply dehumanizing, they’re plain wrong. A company creates and deploys resources, it doesn’t consist of them. People are not just one of the assets – they’re the ones that create all the others. And so on.

In the Anglo Saxon world people tend to believe that we don’t have beliefs, so they take these damaging beliefs for granted. Challenging them is doubly difficult. But there are grounds for optimism. Come along and listen at a free event in London and San Francisco, with video link, on the evening/morning of Thursday 20th November, where we’ll both be speaking. Email me for more information

There’s more on my book at

More on Vlatka’s at


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