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Process Discipline:  Coercive or Enabling?


An Interview with Paul Adler
Paul S. Adler is Professor of Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.  Before arriving at USC in 1991, he was affiliated with the Brookings Institution, Columbia University, the Harvard Business School, and Stanford's School of Engineering.  He has worked with such firms such as General Electric, Honeywell, Apple Computer, General Motors, Chase Manhattan Bank, NCR, UPS, and Nortel.  In this archive interview, Adler lends credence to those who are trying to put more discipline into the product development process.  In many places, observes Adler, there's still resistance to process discipline. That resistance is often based on the assumption that 'you can't schedule creativity' and on the fear that greater discipline would turn development organizations into bureaucratic settings with high levels of employee frustration and alienation. In making the distinction between a coercive bureaucracy and an enabling discipline Adler argues that there are ways of bringing considerable discipline to product development in ways that enhance, rather hinder, creativity.
(6 pages)

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