The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Actionby Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton
Pub. Date: 10/01/1999
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Why are there so many gaps between what firms know they should do and what they actually do? Why do so many companies fail to implement the experience and insight they've worked so hard to acquire? The Knowing-Doing Gap is the first book to confront the challenge of turning knowledge about how to improve performance into actions that produce measurable results.
Why are there so many gaps between what firms know they should do and what they actually do? Why do so many companies fail to implement the experience and insight they've worked so hard to acquire? The Knowing-Doing Gap is the first book to confront the challenge of turning knowledge about how to improve performance into actions that produce measurable results. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton, well-known authors and teachers, identify the causes of the knowing-doing gap and explain how to close it. The message is clearfirms that turn knowledge into action avoid the "smart talk trap." Executives must use plans, analysis, meetings, and presentations to inspire deeds, not as substitutes for action. Companies that act on their knowledge also eliminate fear, abolish destructive internal competition, measure what matters, and promote leaders who understand the work people do in their firms. The authors use examples from dozens of firms that show how some overcome the knowing-doing gap, why others try but fail, and how still others avoid the gap in the first place. The Knowing-Doing Gap is sure to resonate with executives everywhere who struggle daily to make their firms both know and do what they know. It is a refreshingly candid, useful, and realistic guide for improving performance in today's business.
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Table of Contents
1. Knowing "What" to Do Is Not Enough
2. When Talk Substitutes for Action
3. When Memory Is a Substitute for Thinking
4. When Fear Prevents Acting on Knowledge
5. When Measurement Obstructs Good Judgment
6. When Internal Competition Turns Friends into Enemies
7. Firms That Surmount the Knowing-Doing Gap
8. Turning Knowledge into Action
About the Authors
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Comedian Bill Cosby once sang a metaphorical ditty about a man who sat on the railroad tracks each day, only to be hit by a train. He knew when the train was coming, but he just couldn't apply that knowledge to get out of the way. That circumstance will sound hauntingly familiar to corporate consultants. Consider the experience of two consultants conducting deregulation research for a Latin American utility company. They stumbled over an excellent 500-page report completed years previously by a prior consultant. The document had all the information and analysis the company was seeking, but it had never been utilized. Authors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton expose the alarming gap between what senior managers know and what they actually implement. After four years of intensive research into this issue, they uncover valuable lessons on how to make sure your organization doesn't talk itself to death. Today's companies are struggling to overcome inertia and become more nimble. That's why we strongly recommend this book for managers at every level; if nothing else, you'll know what you ought to be doing.