April 24, 2006

News & Opinion: Unwritten Rules?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 8:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture, Publishing Industry

I have sung the praises of The Unwritten Rules of Management by Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson. It seems that some of the rules might have already been written.

There is a book called The Unwritten Rules of Engineering that was written in 1944 by W.J. King. In an article today, New York Times reports that Rules #6 through #22 "are similar to advice in the older book, in most cases using similar or identical language". Carl Durrenberger, a chemical engineer for HP and blogger in San Diego, seems to have uncovered the similarities.

From the NYT piece:
"I'm calling him a plagiarist," Mr. Durrenberger said in an interview. "It may be a little hard. But the definition of plagiarism is taking someone else's work and putting your name on it. So I'm calling it the way I see it."

I think this is pretty weak on Swanson's part. All he needed to do was acknowledge where he got them. The trouble is that it may have been too close to what he was publishing.

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.