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A 90-year evolution: beliefs and values at IBM

In the IBM Archives, there’s a “IBM Management Principles & Practices” document that reflects the culture of an organization where I spent 28 years.  The 19 pages includes articles by seven IBM chairmen over a span of 90 years (published in 2002):

# Article Author Date
01. Basic Beliefs and Management Principles Thomas J. Watson, Jr. April 1969
02. Basic Management Responsibilities Thomas J. Watson, Jr July 1960
03. Be Yourself Frank Cary September 1975
04. Community Education Thomas J. Watson, Jr. August 1961
05. Community Service T. Vincent Larson December 1971
06. Conformity Frank Cary August 1973
07. Decision-Making Thomas J. Watson, Jr. October 1963
08. Equal Opportunity Frank Cary February 1974
09. Ethical Conduct Thomas J. Watson, Jr. June 1961
10. Gobbledygook Thomas J. Watson, Jr. February 1970
11. Human Relations Frank Cary December 1975
12. Managing People Thomas J. Watson, Jr. October 1964
13. Moves Thomas J. Watson, Jr. May 1968
14. Provincialism Thomas J. Watson, Jr. June 1962
15. Quality John R. Opel December 1981
16. Recognition Thomas J. Watson, Jr. March 1970
17. Thinking Thomas J. Watson, Sr. February 1930
18. Trust John F. Akers June 1986
19. Why Thomas J. Watson, Jr. May 1963
20. Women T. Vincent Learson August 1970
21. Win, Execute and Team Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. 1998

The article that led my interest was “Basic Beliefs and Management Principles”, which alphabetically happens to be first.  The “codification of the basic beliefs” is placed in the year 1962 by the IBM Archives, so the 1969 restatement by Thomas J. Watson, Jr. came seven years later.  The letter was addressed to IBM managers:  the first three points review the basic beliefs, followed by four principles for managers to heed:

Basic Beliefs and Management Principles

As you all know, we have long held to three basic beliefs in the conduct of this business: Respect for the individual, the best customer service and superior accomplishment of all tasks.

In the IBM Archives, there’s a “IBM Management Principles & Practices” document that reflects the culture of an organization where I spent 28 years.  The 19 pages includes articles by seven IBM chairmen over a span of 90 years (published in 2002):

# Article Author Date
01. Basic Beliefs and Management Principles Thomas J. Watson, Jr. April 1969
02. Basic Management Responsibilities Thomas J. Watson, Jr July 1960
03. Be Yourself Frank Cary September 1975
04. Community Education Thomas J. Watson, Jr. August 1961
05. Community Service T. Vincent Larson December 1971
06. Conformity Frank Cary August 1973
07. Decision-Making Thomas J. Watson, Jr. October 1963
08. Equal Opportunity Frank Cary February 1974
09. Ethical Conduct Thomas J. Watson, Jr. June 1961
10. Gobbledygook Thomas J. Watson, Jr. February 1970
11. Human Relations Frank Cary December 1975
12. Managing People Thomas J. Watson, Jr. October 1964
13. Moves Thomas J. Watson, Jr. May 1968
14. Provincialism Thomas J. Watson, Jr. June 1962
15. Quality John R. Opel December 1981
16. Recognition Thomas J. Watson, Jr. March 1970
17. Thinking Thomas J. Watson, Sr. February 1930
18. Trust John F. Akers June 1986
19. Why Thomas J. Watson, Jr. May 1963
20. Women T. Vincent Learson August 1970
21. Win, Execute and Team Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. 1998

The article that led my interest was “Basic Beliefs and Management Principles”, which alphabetically happens to be first.  The “codification of the basic beliefs” is placed in the year 1962 by the IBM Archives, so the 1969 restatement by Thomas J. Watson, Jr. came seven years later.  The letter was addressed to IBM managers:  the first three points review the basic beliefs, followed by four principles for managers to heed:

Basic Beliefs and Management Principles

As you all know, we have long held to three basic beliefs in the conduct of this business: Respect for the individual, the best customer service and superior accomplishment of all tasks.

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