Swanson’s Rules of Management


The New York Times has a story on Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson's Unwritten Rules, a handbook of management wisdom. The article addresses accusations that Swanson is a plagiarist. It seems that 17 of the rules were pulled almost verbatim from another source.

The booklet became popular last summer when Business 2.0 ran an article about its "secret" existence. While Swanson admits that the insights aren't his own, he doesn't specifically acknowledge where they came from. I'm not sure what the accusers hope to get out of Swanson. He may have written the rules down 30 years ago and forgotten the source over time. Is that a big deal? I don't think so, since he doesn't present the booklet as his own original ideas.

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  • michael

    there’s only so much info to go around… it seems like it just gets repackaged and restated espeacilly when the info is “in” or trendy…

  • I agree with Michael – so much of what was in there was just common sense. I recognized that almost everything had been said before by one management writer or another.

  • Jeff

    Actually, the OP is not true. Swanson participated in an interview last December for USA Today where he clearly “remembered” the impetus for many of the rules.


    This wasn’t mild management oversight or mistake. This was outright plagiarism. And now he’s blaming it on a lower-level staff person. Dispicable.