Summary of Freedom from Command & Control

Rethinking Management for Lean Service

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Freedom from Command & Control book summary
You can't run your service firm like a factory, but you can manage it as an employee-driven customer service system.


8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


This brief book offers a lot in a small package. Although the customer-driven systems management strategy that John Seddon outlines is hardly new, he offers a fresh discussion about applying it to service organizations. Although this management tactic has proven itself indisputably, many managers and most organizations will find it radical. The author clearly, concisely illustrates its merits with numerous examples from a range of industries, with particular reference to the successful Toyota Production System. However, Seddon is frank about the kind and degree of opposition that reform will encounter. He also debunks other management systems in light of this approach. getAbstract highly recommends this book to all managers with the note that you can only implement its findings if you enjoy the full support of top management.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why "command-and-control" management no longer works
  • How to use systems management at organizations that provide services
  • How the Toyota Production System applies to service businesses and agencies


Push and Pull
In the early twentieth century, engineer Fred Taylor laid the foundation of "command-and-control" leadership when he wrote the "theory of scientific management," separating work from decision making. Managers made decisions and workers worked. For example...
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About the Author

John Seddon is an occupational psychologist. He is also the author of I Want You to Cheat and In Pursuit of Quality: The Case Against ISO 9000. He is managing director of an organizational change consultancy and visiting professor at Cardiff University.

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