Media Insight: "The Human Factor"


Business 2.0 One California Street, 29th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 415/293-4800 http://www.business2.com When Josh Quittner, editor of monthly mag Business 2.0, was looking for someone with a "provocative" take on business, he turned to Stanford Business School Professor of Organizational Behavior Jeffrey Pfeffer. Pfeffer already was a member of the pub's advisory board, and his edgy take on today's business world was well-known in academic and mainstream circles. Pfeffer's new monthly column, "The Human Factor," takes an irreverent look at the way organizations manage their employees. Pfeffer says most of what he writes will not come directly from pitches. But he is very open to hearing from PR professionals about unique management techniques and companies that are getting it right. And if you are able to score a placement, it has the potential to reach more than half a million business readers. Content/Contacts Pfeffer's first column focused on what he calls "the huge fallacy around customer service." He examined the critical error he believes companies are making by investing in expensive "CRM" software at the expense of the employees who build actual relationships with customers. "Customer relations are built around interaction with employees, and these employees are being downsized," Pfeffer says. Send pitches either to Business 2.0's standard pitch address, pitches@business2.com, with Pfeffer's name in the subject line, or to his Stanford email address, pfeffer_jeffrey@gsb.stanford.edu. Pitch Tips Pfeffer is looking for a few good companies. "There must be three of them left," he jokes. He's anxious to hear case studies about companies that are managing their human resources wisely. "I want to hear about companies - besides Southwest Airlines - that manage people in an intelligent and humane way as opposed to junk." Pitch your HR and employee-relations success stories to Pfeffer via email. He doesn't have time for phone calls and says anyone who does call won't get a response. Comments Pfeffer is looking to debunk conventional wisdom with this column. Before pitching him, be sure your company is really as employee-savvy as you say it is. His skeptical take on today's approach to management could land you in hot water if your workforce doesn't feel as strongly as you do about your company's approach to management. "If doctors practiced medicine the way most managers practice management, they'd all be in jail," he says. The professor will also cover the latest research in "The Human Factor," such as the Pew stats he used in his first column showing how many customers walk out of stores due to lack of interaction with customer service reps. In The Pipeline "I have more ideas for this column than I can stand to think about," Pfeffer says. Potential topics include the "myth" that stock options are important and the falsehood that layoffs and downsizing help to increase profitability. He would also like to examine the collateral damage that has been done by the dramatic mismanagement of companies like Enron. Pfeffer cites the far-reaching human factor stemming from that particular business scandal: Not only have employees lost their retirement savings, but with the entire industry in the dumps, energy companies can't get financing to build plants anywhere, much less in third-world countries, where the lack of electricity will perpetuate poverty.

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