It's interesting that Lawrence J. Ellison believes he's creating the management style for the Internet Age ("Oracle: Why it's cool again," Cover Story, May 8). The organizing principle of the Internet is a feminine one: The Web is built on relationships, not hierarchy. Nobody is in charge; there's not a Lone Ranger in sight. Oracle is pursuing a relationship strategy in the marketplace, but when it comes to Oracle's own community, "It's all about centralized control, and Larry is in charge."
Ellison appears to think that one should manage to the lowest common denominator--ignoring the fact that 98% of folks come to work to do a good job and to contribute to the success of the enterprise. His "drill down" approach may save money in the near term, but it produces a cost consciousness that arises out of fear of reprisal rather than out of genuine concern for profitability. Rather than treating his people as intelligent business partners, Ellison is operating as an all-knowing patriarch with a bunch of naughty children.
You perpetuate the image of leader as white male conqueror and create the impression that there aren't more humane and effective ways to run a business. You also suggest that guys like Ellison are courageous to clamp down, when in fact what takes the most guts in today's business world is to experiment with new ways of leading and managing that don't rely on the old Lone Ranger approach. Both Business Week and Ellison have fallen into the testosterone trap.