Leadership and Scanlon

Managers who have no beliefs but only understand methodology and quantification are modern-day eunuchs.
– Max DePree

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the leader is a servant and a debtor.
– Max DePree

Scanlon Leaders are routinely recognized for their outstanding contribution to business. In a recent study of the 36 best leaders in North America four have strongly been influenced by Scanlon thought and practice. Max DePree former CEO of Herman Miller, Inc. has done a wonderful job of describing Scanlon Leadership ideas in his best selling books “Leadership Art” and “Leadership Jazz” available in our resource section. In addition, we offer several articles that you can download for free that are about Scanlon Leadership

Leadership in a Scanlon Tradition by Pete Hovde. Pete interviewed George Schultz (former Secretary of State and colleague of Joe Scanlon), Carl Frost (colleague of Joe Scanlon, author and Scanlon Consultant), Bill Greenwood (Scanlon Consultant), Ken Hux (Vice President/Sears and Scanlon Leader, Dwane Baumgardner (C.E.O. of Donnelly and Scanlon Leader) and Bob Doyle (Scanlon Consultant, and author) to determine Scanlon Leadership traits and practices.

Business Leadership: from Theory to Action by Paul Davis. In this short article written for Leading Edge Magazine the basics of Scanlon Leadership is described.

Leadership Assumptions
Douglas McGregor the great scholar of organizations studied what made effective and ineffective organizations. His work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) led him to conclude that a leader’s assumptions about basic human nature affected how s/he managed. Assumptions caused certain individual behaviors which combined to create the business practices and cultures of the organizations. His research led him to conclude there were two basic assumptions leaders practiced “Theory Y” or “Theory X”

Both Theory X and Theory Y organizations can be successful, however, McGregor’s research indicates Theory Y organizations are more able to adapt to change and are more successful over time. Today most business practices such as teams, total quality, etc. are based on Theory Y assumptions.

Douglas McGregor brought Joe Scanlon to MIT and studied Scanlon organizations. Scanlon organizations were the model for Theory Y. McGregor believed Scanlon methods helped to create Theory Y organizations.

“Participation and Consultative Management…I need only mention the Scanlon Plan as the outstanding embodiment of these ideas in practice.”

“Management by integration and self-control (Theory Y) can take many forms. One of the most unusual of these is the Scanlon Plan. Out of his deep interest in union-management cooperation, the late Joseph Scanlon evolved a collaborative strategy which has achieved solid results, in both economic and human terms, in a number of industrial companies.”

Dr. Douglas McGregor
Human Side of Enterprise