April 25, 2006

News & Opinion: Swanson Acknowledges Using Other's Work

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:49 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

William Swanson, CEO of Raytheon released a statement in response to the NYT piece that ran yesterday. Many of the rules from Unwritten Rules of Management are the same in thought and words to J.W. King's Unwritten Rules of Engineering. Here is the statement released by Swanson:
"The lessons that lie at the heart of the Unwritten Rules were gathered over a lifetime of experience, reading and listening. The result is an unpublished work that is available free of charge to any interested reader. I sought to provide credit at the front of the Unwritten Rules to all those unnamed sources who had, over the course of my life, contributed a thought or an idea relevant to the compiled work. While many of those sources remain anonymous, clearly, the similarity of the language between Professor Kings 1944 book and some of the rules within the Unwritten Rules is beyond dispute.

"For me, the originality of the material was never the rules themselves, but my expression of them in terms of my experience over the years. I hope, in this regard, they continue to be helpful. I regret that over the course of the years and in the process of compiling the Unwritten Rules, any reference to Professor Kings work was not properly credited.

"This experience has taught me a valuable lesson new Rule #34: Regarding the truisms of human behavior, there are no original rules."

I give Mr. Swanson a lot of credit for admitting to and acknowledging this. I did not expect it.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.