Book Review

Getting It Right

Notre Dame on Leadership and Judgment in Business

by Viva Bartkus and Ed Conlon, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2008, 304 pp., $27.95 hardcover

Getting It Right: Notre Dame on Leadership and Judgment in Business is not just about educational leadership. It is about leadership and judgment, both of which are qualities in high demand today in education as elsewhere.

Getting It Right: Notre Dame on Leadership and Judgment in Business


Viva Bartkus is an associate professor of management at the University of Notre Dame, while co-author Ed Conlon is Sorin Society professor in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame.

While this book is primarily about business, any leader in any organization can use the strategies, ideas and diagrams to analyze problems and drive change. During this economic downturn, it is useful to understand the ideas about values and ethics in this book. While the authors do not establish ethical standards, they do provide a few theological principles that can be useful in assessing the standards of an organization.

Any solution involves change. According to the authors, “when confronted with complex problems, people act rather less as the models and theories predict they will and more like, well, people.” People, in fact, resist change if it gets them out of their comfort zone and their capacity to cope with uncertainty.

The authors’ notion of solving the problem is to plan with the end in mind, enabling leaders to work more on the answer rather than on the problem.

Reviewed by Jim Hattabaugh, superintendent, Mansfield School District, Mansfield, Ark.