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John Lloyd contrasts the fashion for corporate consensus with the autocratic styles of John Birt and Tony Blair

There is a curious dichotomy in the world of management. On one side, a new consensus is building in favour of companies with an inclusive, “stakeholding” culture, stressing relationships within and about the corporation as much as the size of the profit margins. On the other, we see two figures in our national life, both modern men, running organisations whose management styles are regarded as autocratic, secretive and peremptory.

The two are Tony Blair, leader of the Labour party and John Birt, director general of the BBC. The first is forced marching his party through a series of changes which…

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