The concept of management in this attempt to define individual contributions to short- and long-term corporate goals is 180 degrees removed from any Theory Z-type notion of mutual responsibilities. At each turn, who-does-what connections "cascade" (Allen's favorite concept) down the company pecking order from chief executive officer to supervisor. The book's central proposal focuses on what the author, a Silicon Valley management consultant, calls "the position plan." This entails everyone's sitting down and committing to paper an assessment of his or her accountability to whoever is reported to. Sort of an amalgam of management-by-objectives and strategic planning, it seems unnecessarily rigid and perhaps a bit demeaning. As a matter of fact, a network of computers (a planning force mentioned only in the book's closing paragraphs) could identify goals more efficiently -- but that might diminish a company's need for consultants.
May 1, 1982