BU Business Professor, Class Featured In ABC News Story On 'Founding Fathers'

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    Dr. Blaine McCormick
Sept. 27, 2002

by Jenifer Fergason, Student Newswriter

After writing two books relating historical figures Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison to the founding of the business world, Dr. Blaine McCormick attracted national media attention to Baylor University through creative approaches to his writings and courses.

The assistant professor of management and his "Negotiation and Conflict Resolution" class were featured in an "ABC World News Tonight" segment that aired nationwide Sept. 24.

Anchored by Peter Jennings, the special broadcast from Philadelphia focused on America's founding fathers, which included a clip of McCormick's presentation on the management style of Franklin. McCormick also is featured in Jennings' new book, In Search of America, co-authored by Todd Brewster.

McCormick was inspired to write about Franklin, as well as Edison, after noticing the success of such books as The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, a business book that focused on military leaders and what business people can learn from them. However, business is not war and winning customers over by force is not a good example, McCormick said.

"The bad idea of this is treating war and business as the same when they are fundamentally different," he said. "Thus, my goal is to find positive business role models from our past and write books about them for current business leaders."

McCormick said Ben Franklin contributed prominently to the evolving American management model. Franklin not only captivated people during his time with his civic duties and social responsibilities but is also remembered today for the example that he set as a respected businessman. McCormick calls Franklin the "founding father of American business" and points out that Franklin's wisdom is worth studying. He links this prestigious title to Franklin after reading Franklin's Autobiography, which expresses how to grow a business American-style.

To demonstrate Franklin's relevancy in the 21st century, McCormick wrote Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management, published by the Entrepreneur Press in 2000. In his writing, McCormick's intention was to explain important principles articulated through Franklin's Autobiography and Poor Richard's Almanac. His success was attributed to four basic points: work hard, watch costs, have a good public image and use technology wisely.

"Up to Franklin's time, the business model was one of force and fiat," McCormick said. "But he invented the freedom model - you could be rewarded for good work, and in turn, society would be, too."

Another book that McCormick was inspired to write was At Work with Thomas Edison. Published by the Entrepreneur Press in 2001, the book exemplifies fundamental principles for innovators.

McCormick is working on a third book, Shepherd Leadership, with co-author David Davenport, former president of Pepperdine University.

"This is my favorite book so far because it is built around Psalm 23, which is traditionally known as a psalm of comfort," McCormick said.

McCormick said he was intrigued by the poem because it was written by a leader from the perspective of a follower. McCormick and Davenport are taking the famous psalm and marking the leadership standpoints from each verse.

"The goal is to make Psalm 23 a regular mediation for faith-centered leaders worldwide," McCormick said.

Their book will be on the shelf in the fall of 2003.

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