Dr. Seuss: Management Guru

Slate's Culture Blog
March 2 2011 3:51 PM

Dr. Seuss: Management Guru

Today is the107 th birthday* of Theodore S. Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Theman certainly taught us many lessons, like how animals wearing human accessories are not to be trusted, and that sometimes it's okay to listento the little voices in your head . But did you know that all this time, hewas also teaching us how to be better MBA students?

Today,Miller-McCune examines some of the ways in which Seuss's work has been mined by academics. Perhaps unsurprisingly,psychology-minded eggheads have used the books as a lens on parent-childrelationships. (The "desperate need 'to win the approval of a rejecting parent'"being a recurring theme in the canon.) But business scholars have found plentyof illuminating lessons, as well. For example, future captains of industry havemuch to learn from that famous ecological parable, TheLorax :

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... The Lorax  "can be used inmanagement education to highlight particular ethical issues," according to a2000 article in journal  Business Ethics: A European Review .Michelle Greenwood argues that "a number of core ethical issues are  addressed with great clarity  in both the text andillustrations of this story." For example, she notes disapprovingly that theOnce-ler "did not attempt to establish any relationships or contract with thelocal inhabitants in any of the potential roles they could have held (e.g.,employees, customers or suppliers)."

EvenBar-ba-Loots can enjoy the fruits of capitalism, it seems.

Meanwhile, ifjournal papers aren't your thing, BuzzFeed is offering up some pithier précis of Dr. Seuss's essential social, ethical, and politicalthemes. To wit:

/blogs/browbeat/2011/03/02/dr_seuss_management_guru/jcr:content/body/slate_image
/blogs/browbeat/2011/03/02/dr_seuss_management_guru/jcr:content/body/slate_image0

Images courtesy of BuzzFeed.

* Correction, Mar. 4: This post originally stated that Dr. Seuss was celebrating his 170 th birthday.

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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.