The Unbounded Mind: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking

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Oxford University Press, Jan 21, 1993 - Business & Economics - 192 pages
Global markets, Japanese competition, the service economy, the sophisticated consumer--American business today faces challenges undreamed of just a few decades ago, and traditional approaches to corporate problems are becoming increasingly less effective. And yet, as the authors of The Unbounded Mind point out, MBA programs still preach--and thousands of American firms hold sacred--an antiquated system of business thinking that is wholly inadequate to the problems they face. In this groundbreaking work, two pioneering thinkers in business studies, Ian I. Mitroff and Harold A. Linstone, pinpoint the profound changes that must occur in the way business executives think, make decisions, and solve problems, if America is to remain competitive. They put forth a radically new approach--"new thinking"--and show executives exactly how to employ these special critical and creative tools to clear the hurdles businesses now face. Logic and rationality, they explain, are useful but limited. And traditional simplification often inhibits the ability to ask the right questions and recognize the true problem. But varying perspectives, multiple realities, and openness to multiple solutions are the secrets of contemporary problem-solving, and lead us to the cutting edge of innovation. Clearly and compellingly, Mitroff and Linstone weave together insights gleaned from philosophy, psychology, management science, economics, and decision science, and quote thinkers from Descartes to Robert Bly, from Alvin Toffler to Chief Seattle. In illustrating how "new thinking" differs from the usual ways in which American firms have handled problems, they analyze a wealth of examples including the decline of the American auto industry and the consequences of this country's blind exporting of technology. They also revisit and interpret some of the most grave crises corporate America has faced: the Bhopal disaster, the Tylenol scare, and the accident at Three Mile Island. Hard-hitting and insightful, The Unbounded Mind is a clarion call for American business. It argues that if we are to produce products and services that can compete in the information age, we must challenge the very foundations of our thinking, and learn how to approach decisionmaking in a truly creative way.

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THE UNBOUNDED MIND: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking

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American business schools fail to produce savvy international corporate managers because the schools' philosophical and technical biases are narrow, Cartesian-based, and one-dimensional—and so don't ... Read full review


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The Fourth Way of Knowing
The Fifth Way of Knowing
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Surfacing and Challenging Key Assumptions
To See the World as an Interconnected Whole
Deeper Aspects of Unbounded Systems Thinking

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About the author (1993)

Ian I. Mitroff is Harold Quinton Distinguished Professor of Business Policy and Director, USC Center for Crisis Management, Graduate School of Business, at the University of Southern California. Harold A. Linstone is University Professor Emeritus of Systems Science at Portland State University, and editor-in-chief of the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

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