View from the top: Henry Mintzberg on strategy and management Interview hy Daniel }. McCarthy Executive Overview This is the second confribufion to our Crosstalk series, a coiiaJboration between The Executive and European Management Journal created (o encourage dialogue and exchange of ideas among leading management scholars in North America and Europe. Crosstalk spans the two journals, and the content oi each journal complements, rather than duplicates, that of the other. In this Crosstalk, Henry Mintzberg from Canada and Constantinos Markides from England discuss their work in strategy and management, including their current thinking on major ideas that have shaped these fields and emerging concepts. An interview with Henry Mintzberg appears in The Executive, followed by a commentary from Dr. Markides and a reply by Dr. Mintzberg. The August 2000 issue of European Management Journal uses (he same format and includes an interview with Dr. Markides. a commentary by Mintzberg. and Markides's reply. Abstracts of the interviews and biographical sketches are published in each journal. To gain a full perspective of the in-depth interviews, thoughtful dialogue, and lively exchange of ideas, readers are encouraged to read the Crosstalk in both journals. We plan to feature Crosstalk periodically, with the next one scheduled for February 2001. Henry Mintzberg. who has been a prolific and provocative authority on management and strategy for more than three decades, is the recipient of the Academy of Management's Distinguished Scholar award for 2000. He is seldom content to accept the doctrines of others without testing them in real-world settings, and he develops many of his theories from interviewing and observing managers and other leaders in action. Born in Canada, where he obtained degrees in mechanical engineering and general arts, he continued his studies in the U.S. at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, receiving master's and doctoral degrees in management. Currently the Cleghom Professor of Management Studies at McGill University in Montreal, he is fluent in French, and is also professor of organization at INSEAD in France. In 1998. Dr. Mintzberg was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's highest award for its citizens. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Academy of Management, the International Academy of Management, and the World Academy of Productivity Sciences. He also holds honorary degrees from nine universities in Europe and Canada. Among his more than 130 publications are numerous booics, beginning with The Nature of Managerial Work, published in 1973. and most recently. Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management. He is currently working on Developing Managers, Not MBAs, a book that criticizes current approaches to the education of MBAs and proposes new ways of developing managers. The following interview focuses on Dr. Mintzberg's views of organizational purposes, managerial work, strategy, and rethinking management education.
Have your personal experiences, particularly international ones, affected your views about strategic management and top management roles? I have spent significant amounts of time in Europe, starting at age 19, and have gone there every year 31
since I was about 28. In the last 10 to 12 years I have spent close to half time in either the U.K. or France, and this year in the Czech Republic. I think that probably has a significant impact because Europeans have a different view of a lot of things than Americans do. Frankly, I think a bigger factor is '~
Academy oi Management Executive
being a Canadian. Canadians have a unique advantage of being almost Americans, so they understand what goes on in the States, but they also have a kind of skeptical look at the United States. I think that's what causes some Canadians to be able to see things...