The Value Effect: A Murder Mystery about the Compulsive Pursuit of 'The Next Big Thing'

John Guaspari, Author Berrett-Koehler Publishers $22 (177p) ISBN 978-1-57675-092-6
Following the tried-and-true formula for management books, Guaspari (I Know It When I See It) points out a big problem most companies face (in this case, the failure of faddish new management approaches), and then presents a theory that he promises will reform organizations of all types. The twist here is that Guaspari, a consultant, structures his book like a mystery, in which the fictional consultant who has created the new theory gets murdered. While it isn't hard to figure out who committed the crime, the gimmick makes it easy for Guaspari to dismiss reengineering and employee-empowerment programs, among others, using hard-boiled dialogue and scheming characters. (He thinks all these programs work to some degree; they're just over-hyped.) That lets him set the stage for his relatively short discussion of his theory, ""the value effect,"" which boils down to this: ""When people strive to deliver the maximum value to customers, they get--and stay--energized."" The theory comes with the requisite seven steps for implementation (among them, make sure everyone knows who the customer is), but to his credit Guaspari convincingly explains why his idea can be a rallying cry for companies suffering from implementing fad after fad. Employees may not buy into Guaspari's idea, but at least they will enjoy his noir-ish presentation. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
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