April 24, 2006

News & Opinion: Unwritten Rules?

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 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.