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An article written by two University of Wisconsin Oshkosh business professors refuting the premise of bestseller “Good to Great” recently was translated into Dutch and reprinted in the June 2009 issue of the Holland Management Review.

The article, written by Professors Kristine Beck and Bruce Niendorf and originally published in the Academy of Management Perspectives in November, purports that the management principles outlined by “Good to Great” author Jim Collins do not lead to “sustained great results.”

In the paper, Beck and Niendorf point out two statistical errors in the author’s theory and provide empirical tests to support their contention.

“…the method used to select the great firms in ‘Good to Great’ is a classic example of data mining. This error was further compounded by mistaking association for causation.,” the professors state in the paper’s conclusion. “Although the 11 ‘GTG’ firms are certainly good, we find no evidence that they are great.”

In addition to the Dutch translation and reprint, Beck and Niendorf have written a follow-up paper that further explores the problems with data mining as well as financial risk — a topic not addressed in the book.

‘Good to Great’ or Great Data Mining?” will be published in the Journal of Financial Education this spring.

  • Read “‘Good to Great’ or Just Good?” (in English).
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