The Wisdom of Crowds

Chapter 10- The Wisdom of Crowds

Here is what my presentation was going to say; the points I touched upon and didn’t.

Chapter 10 is basically discussing what works and what doesn’t work within the constraints of companies and corporations. Referring to “the crowd” in this chapter, would, I believe, be referring to employees. I found two main parts to this chapter interesting and the one other section also caught my attention.

Part 1:(page 194-195):

Zara does two things very well

First employees anticipate and adjust to its customers’ ever changing demands, trying to coordinate its behavior to match that of customers

Second coordinating actions and decisions of tens of thousands of its employees getting them to direct their energies and their attention toward the same goal: making and selling clothes that people want to buy

I found this whole concept interesting. I first found it interesting because I feel like this is something every company or corporation should try to achieve. The fact that Zara coordinates itself for customer behavior and attempts or tries to get all employees to reach the same goal. Of all companies the author choice this one to discuss.

As Surowiecki says; “The fundamental paradox of any corporation is that even though it competes in the marketplace, it uses instruments-plans, commands,controls-to accomplish its goals”

The questions I raised were;

Why do you think the author choice this company? What could they be doing differently compared to other companies and corporations (not in the fashion industry)?How do you think this transpires within the fashion industry?

Part 2: (pages 198-200)

Different ways of coordinating a business can be looked at as a reflection of gangster films in Hollywood.

-The first exemplified by The Godfather Part 2. business is run by a top down hierarchy like a traditional corporation.

-The second model of group organization can be seen in Michael Mann’s film Heat its

like a small business.

-The last model is in movies like Asphalt Jungle and Reservoir Dogs where individuals come together to pull off a single job and then disperses, very much the way an independent film gets made.

Which one does everyone think is the best and why? Each has its own pros and cons for the way a business should be run, and I think it mainly depends on the products being sold or manufactured.

Part 5:

(Page 212)

Lastly I thought Surowiecki’s description of the virtues of decentralization was very interesting. He explains it as two-fold.

First the more responsibility people have for their own environments the more engaged they will be, and second decentralization makes coordination easier.

The critique people have is that even if power is given within the company, it will still mainly land in the hands of the management. However, top down power is built into the DNA of the corporation so theres no point in trying to eliminate it.

Finally, no decision making system is going to guarantee corporate success. Its always a hard decision for corporations to decide whether it will work better with one man in power, having several men in levels of power, or if the power is spread evenly throughout the employees.

If you were to run a corporation which method do you think you would choose?




  1. Reblogged this on Yolo – unless you are a cat and commented:
    In seinem Buch “The wisdom of crowds” erläutert James Surowiecki weshalb die Weisheit Vieler zu einem besseren Ergebnis führen als die Weisheit von Experten oder Expertengruppen.
    Für Unternehmen bedeutet das: Ein Team aus gleich tickender Manager ist das Schlimmste. Das gesamte Wissen der Mitarbeiter zu nutzen, ist der viel bessere Weg eine Firma zu leiten. „Die Menschen mit dem Wissen um das Problem sind meist diejenigen, denen die beste Lösung einfällt.“

    Als Paradebeispiel eines Unternehmens, das die Weisheit der Vielen nutzt, ist Zara. Der Modekonzern lässt seine Mitarbeiter an den neusten Kollektionen mitbestimmen. Die Angestellten haben nicht nur die Aufgabe ihre Kunden zufrieden zu stellen, sie sollen auch herausfinden, was die Kunden wollen. Die Verkäufer müssen sich darauf achten, was den Kunden gefällt. Sie geben dann den Designern Rückmeldungen. Ihre Feedbacks tragen also zu einer neuen Kollektion bei. Zara ist berühmt für seine immer wieder neuen Kollektionen, welche dank der Weisheit der Vielen, welche hier die Angestellten sind, den Wünschen der Kunden entspricht.

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