Jeffrey Pfeffer (1946- )
American professor at the Stanford Business School in California and an expert in human resource management
The External Control of Organizations
An organization is dependent on outside supplies of resources (e.g. money, materials, people and
This dependence is determined by:
importance to the organization
2. How much control suppliers have
over the resource’s allocation, use and supply
Alternative supplies mean less dependence e.g. lots of labour available means less reliance on existing
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Resource dependence perspective (describing an organization’s dependence on outside resources).
Managing with Power
You need power and influence over other people to get things done.
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Our ability to get things done requires us to develop power and the capacity to influence those on whom we
Competitive Advantage Through People (1994)
An organization’s success depends on its people and corporate culture (shared values and beliefs), because they are
difficult to copy.
Success through people means working with them and implementing human resource strategies:
- job satisfaction creators (particularly high wages, interesting work and performance related pay).
- inspirational purpose and values for the organization.
- empowerment and control over work.
- involvement in decision making.
Trade unions can assist the introduction of these policies and so help (not hinder) the organization.
An effective corporate strategy integrates human resource policies with other success
factors like marketing, innovation and world-class quality.
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The effects of unions depend very much on what management does.
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People and how we manage them are becoming more important because many other sources of competitive success are
less powerful than they once were.
Machines don’t make things, people do.
The Human Equation
Put employees first, because this leads to:
- customer satisfaction, innovation and profits.
- managers who involve people in decision making and are sensitive to their needs (like training and
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Effectively managing people is not the sole basis
for competitive success.
The Knowing-Doing Gap
(2000), written with Robert Sutton (pictured right)
Organizations fail because they don’t convert knowledge into action (the knowing-doing gap)
They talk a lot but do very little (the smart talk trap).
The best way to avoid this is thoughtful action:
- thinking about and discussing current knowledge.
It is important to encourage the spread of knowledge throughout the organization by:
- having a ‘no blame’ culture.
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Spend less time just contemplating and talking about organizational problems. Taking action will generate
experience from which we can learn.