Date: December 14th., 2005
Sent to but not published in the New York Times
To: The Editor, New York Times
I was horrified to read in Maureen Dowd's column (Times, December 14th 2005, A35) that according to Jack Murtha "when they were planning the invasion [of Iraq], the administration wouldn't let one of the primary three star generals in the room."
When I was teaching MBA's in 1973 (the year George W. Bush entered the Harvard Business School) my colleagues and I taught, among other things, that in complex situations and if managed properly, group decision making was superior to individual decision making because the variety of points of view expressed by group members would result in a decision that better reflected the facts of the situation. We also taught that having the people who were going to execute the subsequent actions participate in decision making had two useful consequences: as already mentioned increasing the relevant knowledge brought to bear; and increasing peoples' commitment to the decision.
Excluding a key group member violated both those recommendations.
George W. Bush must have skipped classes at the Harvard Business School on those days.