BusinessCompany NewsHewitt’s howler

Hewitt's howler

The timing cannot have been coincidental. The second series of the acclaimed comedy series The Office had been on BBC 2 for barely a week when trade secretary Patricia Hewitt announced that US business guru Michael Porter had been commissioned to undertake research into the effectiveness of UK managers.

‘Leading UK managers would agree with the growing body of evidence that suggests we could benefit from sharpening up our management skills so that we can reach our full potential,’ said Hewitt.

She had clearly been watching The Office and was intent on aping David Brent’s famed motivational techniques. With US corporates hit by scandal after scandal in recent months you could be forgiven for thinking that choosing a US business guru to lead a government review of UK management practices is at best insensitive and at worst ill-advised.

The public’s feelings on the government ‘slavishly’ following the US’s every lead – whether it’s over industry regulation or a war on Iraq – are mixed to say the least.

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