Research Agenda

The following diagram summarizes my research agenda.

Click on the titles in red for more detail on the various elements of that agenda.

I put this map together mainly to prove to my colleagues that yes, there is method to my madness. To follow my logic, begin with the four-region chart on the right. There is a growing complexity in the marketplace that demands new approaches to management. I am fascinated by the impact that this is having on the complexity of modern day management systems.

From my work so far, several things seem clear. Management system designs can no longer be created on an ad-hoc basis. They must be planned systems. Otherwise they will never deliver the quality and consistency that the marketplace demands. At the same time, they cannot be static or rigid.

This means that management are paying far more attention to the architecture and implementation of their management systems. We can already see evidence of this in the global stampede towards ISO 9000 certification. Whatever one thinks of ISO 9000 as a model for quality management, it is clear that large customers are sufficiently hungry for reassurance that they are willing to force their suppliers to comply. The management implications of ISO 9000 have been one of my most active research threads over the past three years.

To make this evolving management system work, there must be a new level of communication between the company and its customers and between the organization and its employees. Increasingly, these communication systems will rely heavily on new information technologies. Technologies like the Internet will create new ways for companies and customers to discuss their mutual needs. At the same time, groupware technologies are enabling a broader spectrum of employees to participate in organizational decision-making.

Finally, there is an important overlooked element in this new system. That is the need for more effective "sensors" to measure what is happening both inside and outside the organization. Without effective measurement, it is impossible to achieve effective control. David Nemhard and I are working on several new management sensors that "mine" the mass of transaction data that is increasingly available in most organizations.

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