Best Laid Plans: The Tyranny of Unintended Consequences and how to Avoid Them

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ABC-CLIO, 2011 - Business & Economics - 208 pages
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Marketing methods intended to increase customer retention that drives clients to competitors. Efforts to prevent riots that cause them to happen. Countries that acquire weapons to increase their security but actually, heighten their risk. Unintended consequences often occur, but there are ways to prevent them¨if you understand the social mechanisms at play.

Historian and author Daniel Boorstin noted, "The unintended consequences of man's enterprises have and will always be more potent, more widespread, and more influential than those he intended." Today, a Google web search for "unintended consequences" summons nearly two million pages citing the unexpected impacts of government policies, new technologies, management decisions, and the actions of individuals. Unfortunate unintended consequences are becoming increasingly problematic as our world becomes globally and electronically interconnected, causing the results of our decisions to resonate across the globe. In Best Laid Plans, the author examines how any action can have cascading impacts across time, place, and sector, explaining the eight social mechanisms of unintended consequences that complicate matters and often defeat best laid plans.

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User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Good examples and good suggestions about how to plan in order to avoid the unintended consequences. However, at this point I feel that discussion of the institutional barriers to such changes and the political actions needed to overcome them are an important part of the discussion. Read full review


Chapter 1 The Tyranny of Unintended Consequences
Chapter 2 The Web of Life
Chapter 3 The Domino Effect
Chapter 4 The Vicious Cycle
Chapter 5 The Bandwagon Effect
Chapter 6 The Balance of Nature
Chapter 8 Coming into Being
Chapter 9 Breaching the Peace
Chapter 10 Thinking through the Maze

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About the author (2011)

William A. Sherden is adjunct professor at the International Business School at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.

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