We Won’t ‘Mintz’ Words

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

expert perspective telescopeThe November 30, 2009 Wall Street Journal ran an article by Henry Mintzberg, professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal titled No More Executive Bonuses!   The problem isn’t that they are poorly designed. The problem is that they exist.

Mintzberg says: “These days, it seems, there is no shortage of recommendations for fixing the way bonuses are paid to executives at big public companies. Well, I have my own recommendation: Scrap the whole thing. Don’t pay any bonuses. Nothing.” 

We say “WHAT?” 

First let us say that we believe that Professor Mintzberg is among the top five organizational theorists in the world.  In own biography on his website  Mintzberg says: “I devote myself largely to writing and research, over the years especially about managerial work, strategy formation, and forms of organizing”.

Mintzberg’s many books and articles are profound treatises on management, strategy and organizational design.  We eagerly await and read every publication in the past finding well thought out and well supported critique of issues associated with organization theory. This article, however, is more a “knee jerk” reaction to the state of affairs in the arena of executive compensation.  Unfortunately it comes off as a common and uninformed position and worse, it does little to advance the task of properly structuring executive pay.

Perhaps Professor Mintzberg’s intention was to present a controversial position that would help to foster dialogue about the state of executive pay. But whether or not that was his intention, we hope that Professor Mintzberg’s avid readers (ourselves among this group) don’t take his suggestion to “scrap the whole thing” as gospel.

We will continue to advise our clients to design reward programs that are unique to their organizations that drive business success.  Most of these programs will include bonuses.

Contact Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board at edie.kingston@grahall.com

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