MY WORK

 

In working on a challenging issue, I strive to understand mainstream thinking while scrutinizing rarely questioned assumptions that undergird widely accepted theories. In particular, I try to unpack language in order to both reveal potentially obsolete assumptions and to generate new ideas. The overriding theme of my inter-disciplinary work, grounded in systems thinking, is that knowledge building and value creation are flip sides of the same coin and that the business firm should be the fundamental unit for analyzing economic progress.

In my opinion, these are the five most useful pieces I have written:

  • Value Creation Principles: The Pragmatic Theory of the Firm Begins with Purpose and Ends with Sustainable Capitalism (click here for a quick summary)
  • “The Pragmatic Theory of the Firm” click here
  • A Foundational Explanation of Human Behavior: How to Get Beyond Observed Behavior to the Why of What We Do click here 
  • Response to critics of my Free To Choose Medicine proposal, click here
  • Work-in-progress journal article, “Clarifying the Meaning and Use of Value Improves Strategic Systems Thinking”

Below are extracts from endorsements for some of my books and monographs:

  • “By speaking the language of both shareholders and stakeholders, Madden provides an important contribution to our understanding of capitalism at a critical moment, and an illuminating roadmap for the future of business.” Dominic Barton, Former Managing Director, McKinsey & Co.
  • “… is ideally suited to facilitate progress in the New Economy by opening up the process by which firms build knowledge and create value, which is a needed step in revising how neoclassical economics treats the firm.” Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University.
  • “… explains a way of being that enables those who work for, or invest in, business firms to see beyond accounting silos and short-term quarterly earnings and to focus on capabilities instrumental for creating long-term future and sustainable value for the firm’s stakeholders.” John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist for Xerox Corp and Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
  • “Madden’s market-based solution appeals to economists like me who are keenly aware of the critical importance of institutional design for a system to promote decentralized responses close to the local knowledge that is available to physicians and their patients, but not to the FDA.” Vernon Smith, Nobel Laureate in Economics.
  • “ … imaginative … integrates a dynamic approach to business systems with the fundamentals of wealth creation.” Douglass C. North, Nobel Laureate in Economics.
  • “… ideas … need to be viewed and absorbed from different angles—economics, finance, psychology, entrepreneurship, and innovation … aimed at a business audience, but they are “anti-disciplinary,” i.e., they don’t respect the normal boundaries of academic writing, and are all the more valuable for it.” Jeff Ubois, VP Knowledge Management, Lever for Change, MacArthur Foundation.
  • “What I discover for myself out of what Madden writes makes a profound difference in my own performance beyond being merely informed, and makes a difference in my quality of life as well.” Werner Erhard
  • “… power … is its bringing together some of the key insights from neuroscience, psychology, systems thinking, and culture studies.” Edgar H. Schein, Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT.
  • “… effectively illustrates that neither unprincipled opportunism nor endless regulation can lead to business success and societal well-being. Instead, such universal benefits can only derive from a relentless focus on creating real, long-term value.” Charles G. Koch, CEO, Koch Industries.
  • “… rightfully points out that both textbook and more advanced economic theories of the firm fail to addresses the concerns of top management and boards of directors. He offers a tantalizing pragmatic alternative that directly connects to quantitative changes in the firm’s market value.” David Teece, Thomas W. Tusher Professor in Global Business, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.  
  •  “… is a down-to-earth primer on what every businessperson in a dynamic economy needs to know about modern knowledge in economics, psychology, and philosophy.”  Edmund Phelps, Nobel Laureate in Economics