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The Clayton M. Christensen Reader by Harvard Business Review, Clayton M. Christensen

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Why Hard-Nosed Executives Should Care About Management Theory

by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor

IMAGINE GOING to your doctor because you’re not feeling well. Before you’ve had a chance to describe your symptoms, the doctor writes out a prescription and says, “Take two of these three times a day, and call me next week.”

“But—I haven’t told you what’s wrong,” you say. “How do I know this will help me?”

“Why wouldn’t it?” says the doctor. “It worked for my last two patients.”

No competent doctors would ever practice medicine like this, nor would any sane patient accept it if they did. Yet professors and consultants routinely prescribe such generic advice, and managers routinely accept such therapy, in the naive belief that if a particular ...

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