Chapter 9: Decision making by individuals and Groups

March 24, 2010

Good to Great, or Just Good? by Bruce Niendorf and Kristine Beck.

Unlike the Indepth: Iraq and the IC community mechanisms, this article above exhibits a different approach of group think or collective presumption by Niendorf and Beck challenging not only the author’s assertions in his book: “Good to Great”, but also their own assumptions. Collin’s study was based on 11 companies that performed just great for a time period of 10 fiscal years. Yet, in this article Good to Great, or just Good? Niendorf and Beck have done an amazing research by trying to reveal some flaws in Jim Collin’s methodology and the failure to apply some statistical techniques to test his assumptions; assumptions that according to Jim Collin’s 5 principles will shift a company from good to great?

I think that Collin’s assumptions are kind of unfounded and off base. What makes his article pretty interesting to read is that it is full of powerful quotes of high level leadership, for instance: the 5 principles outlined in Collin’s paperwork which he claims will lead to sustained great results. However, in reality this article brings clearly nothing but a set of commonalities that of course existed among successful companies at the time of Collin’s research, but nothing else.

I also liked the section termed: “Weaknesses of This Study”, in which they both Niendorf and Beck challenge not only Jim Collin’s 5 principles in his book “GTG”,   but also their own research by stating that their objective was to test Collin’s claims, that they may have gotten things wrong or there may have been factors unknown to them, but Collin’s research would still remain flawed.  

In summary, Collin’s greatest mistake of his work presented in his book was the delusion of correlation and causality. Of course correlation exists when he attempts to prove that his 5 principles shared by those companies lead to greatness, however it is almost impossible to prove any causation because of so many different environmental and financial considerations.


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