Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat
|Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat|
|Author||Archibald Putt (pseudonym)|
|Publication date||28 April 2006|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|LC Classification||HD31 .P855 2006|
Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat is the title of a 1981 book, credited to the pseudonym Archibald Putt. It is based upon a series of articles published in Research/Development Magazine in 1976 and 1977.
An updated edition, with the added subtitle How to Win in the Information Age, was published by Wiley-IEEE Press in 2006.
The book discusses the fundamental observation, dubbed Putt's Law:
- "Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand."
The book also discussed a number of related laws, particularly "Putt's Corollary", which is more formally known as the "First Corollary to Putt's Law":
- "Every technical hierarchy, in time, develops a competence inversion."
Putt's Corollary means that "incompetence is flushed out of the lower levels" of a technocratic hierarchy, ensuring that technically competent people remain directly in charge of the actual technology while those without technical competence move into management. There are various other corollaries dealing with the interaction of corporate hierarchy and technocracy.
The same effect of negative selection improving an organization's stability was formulated as The Dilbert principle in the 1990s. Putt's complaint about The Dilbert Principle book by Scott Adams is that while that book provides useful insights for non-managers, it provided little insight for ambitious employees who aspire to advance into management.
Identity of Archibald Putt
Before the 2006 updated book on Putt's Law was released, there was speculation that Archibald Putt would reveal his true identity. In an audio interview with IEEE in 2006, the author discussed why he continues to use a pseudonym. In that audio interview, his voice was disguised to more completely assure his continued anonymity.
Archibald Putt is only identified on the book's cover as a man whose contributions to science, engineering, and research/development management are well known. He is further identified as someone who has served on government advisory committees and held executive positions in an unidentified large multinational corporation. The book states that he holds a PhD degree from a leading institute of technology.
- Archibald Putt. Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age, Wiley-IEEE Press (2006), ISBN 0-471-71422-4. page 7.
- Archibald Putt. Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age, Wiley-IEEE Press (2006), ISBN 0-471-71422-4. Preface.
- John Walker, review in New Scientist, October 1981, p. 52
- 2006. IEEE Spectrum Radio. April 1
- Archibald Putt: The Unknown Technocrat Returns (spectrum.ieee.org)