Tom Peters Research Paper

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Tom Peters Research Paper

Executive Summary

This report is about Tom Peters and his contributions to management. The purpose of this report is to explain the theories and practices he came up with in order to improve the performance of companies across America. Tom Peters is an American author who writes books on business management practices. He was able to shape the idea of modern management better than many others for around six decades.

His book, In Search of Excellence, is one of the biggest selling business books in America. It talks about the 8 attributes of excellence. These attributes are used by companies like IBM, 3M, Proctor & Gamble, and Delta Airlines. Since these companies have followed those attributes, they have performed so well and are known as America’s best-run companies currently.

The McKinsey 7S model is a set of 7 elements that are used for improving the performance of a business. These are used to assess and monitor changes that take place in an organization. In the McKinsey 7S model the two types of elements are soft and hard elements. Hard elements are easier to figure out and explain while soft elements are harder to figure out and explain. The shared values element is the main focus.

To accomplish a successful corporation follow these 8 attributes of excellence

  1. A bias for action
  2. Close to the customer
  3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship
  4. Productivity through people
  5. Hands on, value driven
  6. Stick to the knitting
  7. Simple for, lean staff
  8. Simultaneous loose tight properties


Tom Peters was one of the most famous authors who created ideas for management compared to others over the last six decades. Starting in the mid of 1970s, Tom Peters guided in the preparation of management in the modern era. The titles that he received for his acknowledgment of his works were “uber guru of management”, “father of post-modern corporation”, “inventor of management guru industry” and many others. In the website Harvard Business Review he was noted as one of the 50 most influential management gurus.

Brief Biography

Thomas J. Peters is an American author who writes books that are related to management practices. Tom Peters was born on November 7, 1942 in Baltimore, USA. Peters attended Severn School for high school and Cornell University, where he had received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in civil engineering. He later received his MBA and PhD from the Stanford Business School. Peters also received a PhD from the State University of Management from Moscow. In 1990, Tom Peters was referred to as the one of the world’s Quality Gurus in the British Department of Trade and Industry publication. Tom Peters’ best known book is In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies which had been published in 1982. He gained recognition for this book in U.S. on the PBS channel. Currently he lives on a farm in Vermont with his family. He presents 50 seminars every year around the world.

Tom Peters’ first Book

The book, In Search of Excellence, by Robert Waterman and Tom Peters is one of the bestselling and widely read business books. This book gave a guide to managers to increase their chances of success in the purchases/investments that they have been funding through their ventures. This book concentrated on passing the power to the lowest person in an organization to allow them to solve the most problems possible. The main message that has been inherited through the novel is that people, customers, and action are the most important steps in the business process of success.

8 Attributes of Excellence

Tom Peters had joined up with Robert H. Waterman Jr. to develop 8 attributes of excellence, which takes a more unconventional approach to management. They started by interviewing 36 of the top companies at the time of the study, and from that they developed the 8 attributes of excellence, which provides way to manage a successful business. His unconventional method involves paying attention to the details, employees and customers and how they operate.

The 8 attributes of excellence are:

  1. A bias for action- small activities used to build knowledge, interest and commitment. The managers stay visible when they are involved in all areas and wander around the work place to keep an eye on everyone.
  2. Close to the customer- satisfaction of the customer is always a must! Their input helps to have a better image of your business.
  3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship- taking risks should be encouraged and failure should always be tolerated. Entrepreneurs should be encouraged to see through to the completion of their project. Flexibility of the structure allows for small group projects. Creativity should always be encouraged to ensure the development of new and successful products.
  4. Productivity through people- Treat others with respect and dignity. Enthusiasm, trust, and a family environment should be included. Encourage others what they have while they do something meaningful.
  5. Hands on, value driven- company philosophy is followed. Personal values are discussed openly. The organizations belief system is reinforced through shared stories, etc.
  6. Stick to the knitting- management sticks to the business that they know best. A lot of emphasis on internal growth.
  7. Simple for, lean staff- authority is decentralized as much as possible. HQ staff is kept small and all of the talent is in the field.
  8. Simultaneous loose tight properties- tight control over strategies and finances is balanced by decentralized authority, autonomy, and opportunities for creativity.

McKinsey 7S Model

Tom Peters had also joined up with Robert H. Waterman Jr. and discovered the McKinsey 7S model. This model has been developed during the creation of the novel, In Search of Excellence. This came as a guide for Peters and Waterman to creating theories and researches of critical thinking and communication skills for the business field. This model helped prove to show how crucial people are to achieving success in business.

The McKinsey 7S Model elements are:

  1. Structure – The blueprints of the venture.
  2. Strategy – The skills that have been practice through business skills.
  3. Systems – Equipment’s that have been used to create success.
  4. Style of management – The way essentials are organized.
  5. Skills – Practices of business communication and critical thinking skills.
  6. Staff – Members of the entity.
  7. Shared values – Attributes that have been expressed and given throughout the employees and managers.

These elements are grouped into 2 groups. They are classified as either soft or hard elements. Hard elements are a lot easier to figure out and explain while soft elements are lot harder to explain and figure out. Hard elements are influenced by management while soft elements are influenced by culture. In a 7S Model diagram, the Shared Values element is placed in the middle since that is the main focus.

Impact on Business

The contributions by Tom Peters have made a huge impact on several American companies. The book, In Search of Excellence, talks about the best-run companies in the nations. Some of these companies include IBM, 3M, Proctor and Gamble, and Delta Airlines. It had also given many businesses an aspect of the true meaning of what business is. He has also derived the crucial parts of people when making decisions in a business agreement/investment. It also gives an advantage to many businesses as they now use their critical thinking and communication skills when making decisions.


Tom Peters played a major role in shaping the modern era of management. His first book, In Search of Excellence, became one of the biggest selling business books and helped managers have successful businesses. In the process of making the book they created a management model, McKinsey 7S model, which helped create theories and researches of critical thinking and communication skills for the business field. The book consists of 8 common themes that are guidelines for managers to have a successful corporation. Tom Peters has impacted several companies and gave an understanding of what business is.


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