The theory: Duke = Microsoft.
The theorist: Paul Damiano, organizational psychologist and president of GoodWorks, which “takes principles of psychology and applies them to work”
“I think teams follow a similar life cycle to the one that businesses follow, going from an entrepreneurial stage to growth and development to getting bigger and ultimately becoming a monopoly and undergoing regulation. In business, the entrepreneurial phase is young and exciting. In sports, these are the teams just coming onto the scene, and all of a sudden they start generating success. [Think Murray Stateor Northern Iowa.] Then we go to the growth phase. In business, you begin to develop more consistent systems and procedures, and you can replicate your success. In basketball, teams start to get a 15- or 20-win season more frequently, and success breeds success because they’re able to get better players. At that point we still like these teams, because we remember when they were nobodies and it’s kind of cool watching them succeed. But then it turns ugly. Just like in business, the teams enter a cycle of dominance. This is the monopolistic phase. And we don’t like monopolies. When teams like Duke reach this phase, we start to think they’ve developed unfair business practices. They get to be on TV more, so they get more exposure, which lets them attract higher-caliber players, which gets the sports media speaking more highly of them. And then, just as people think monopolies get unfair business and trade advantages, people think the team gets too much of the benefit of the doubt from the regulatory agencies—a.k.a. the referees.”