12 Chapters
Medium 9781576750322

Chapter 1 Management in Transition: Bridging That Divide Between the Old and the New

Halal, William E. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Bridging That Divide Between
the Old and the New

Civilization today is poised at the brink of a great divide between an old way of life that is dying and a new way of life that is still being born. Behind lies an Industrial Age that lavished wealth on a world that was poor—but which also left a polluted planet, quarrelsome societies, and empty lives. Ahead lies the much heralded promise of the Information Age—but its growing contours continue to surprise and shock us. Who would have thought that a global economy would appear almost overnight? That the Soviet Union would just disintegrate? That the United States would slip into decline?1

There are many ways to examine such complex issues, but basically these are problems of managing social institutions. As a knowledge economy spreads around the world, the largest professional group today is the rising managerial class that guides a growing infrastructure of complex organizations.2 Most of the worries that dominate the news emanate from the interaction of corporations, governments, schools and universities, hospitals, news media, armies, and other institutions that support modern life. Peter Drucker described it this way: “Because a knowledge society is one of organizations, its central organ is management. Management alone makes effective all of today’s knowledge.”3

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Chapter 2 From Hierarchy to Enterprise: Internal Markets Are the New Form of Organization Structure

Halal, William E. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Internal Markets Are the New Form
of Organization Structure

It has become a cliché to note that business schools are notorious for their poor management. Mine was no exception. An especially irksome problem was getting the copy center to work properly. Professors thrive on paper, yet we couldn’t seem to get copies made in less than a week. We knew that our local Kinko’s could get them done in a day, but we would have to pay. Since the copy center was free, we kept using it despite bad service. In fact, that’s one reason why the service was bad: we overused this free good, clogging the system. Repeated attempts to get the copy center to improve its operations and the faculty to curb their excessive usage had little effect.

The problem was that we were relying on a hierarchical assignment of tasks that were too complex for this approach. We needed good service. We needed faculty accountability. We needed a copy center manager who was motivated to help us. We needed a choice of providers. In short, we needed a market.

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Chapter 6 Knowledge Entrepreneurs: A Working Contract of Rights and Responsibilities

Halal, William E. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

A Working Contract of Rights
and Responsibilities

Not long ago, work life was a pretty straightforward affair. You found a job, did what you were told, and were paid a salary.

But recently this system began coming apart. Layoffs have shattered the bonds of employee-employer loyalty. Wages have been falling for two decades. Union membership has dropped to a fraction of its former levels. And one-third of the labor force has become lost in a “contingent” status of part-time or temporary work.

At the same time, other changes have begun introducing more enlightened work practices. Employees are encouraged to participate in major decisions. Many now own their companies. They enjoy broader rights to control their work. The labor force is becoming diverse. And most jobs are far more interesting than they once were.

These crosscurrents in the employment relationship flow out of a turbulent passage in our concept of work. The paternalistic system in which “bosses” supervised “employees” in running the machinery of an Industrial Age is yielding to a complex world of knowledge work where more is asked of us. Organizations today need the intellect, involvement, and creative ideas of everyone who works in them. The confusing changes noted above are searching steps toward redefining work life.

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Chapter 8 Continuous Change: Rooting the Organization into Its Environment

Halal, William E. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Rooting the Organization into Its Environment

All agree that coping with change is critical now that the Information Revolution is roaring upon us, yet attempts to manage change do not succeed very often. Look at the failed promise of nuclear power “too cheap to meter,” the AT&T PicturePhone, the Great Society, and many other formidable undertakings. If we hope to manage a complex future, it is best to have no illusions. Strategic change is an unusually difficult undertaking. Consider two roughly similar attempts to produce major social change in the USA and the former USSR that took very different, unexpected paths.

The health care system in the United States is suffering from skyrocketing costs, a large uninsured population, and mediocre performance.1 Eli Ginsberg, an authority on health care, says that “the system is likely to be derailed some time this decade,” and former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop claims that “there is something terribly wrong. We need a complete change.”2 Then why did attempts to reform the system fail when President Clinton aroused the nation to act? Here is a sophisticated nation that planned the success of World War II and landed men on the Moon, yet it seems unable to change a health care mess that is likely to grow far worse.

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Appendixes

Halal, William E. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

 

This exercise is designed to allow participants to experience the effects of different tasks on organization structure.

The instructor should assign participants to groups of 3 to 7 people and have each group select a leader. The leaders are then asked to have their groups perform two different tasks, and the results are posted on a chalk-board or flipchart.

The first task is to add up a page full of random numbers and produce a total. (See Exhibit 1. The correct answer is 161,280.) The instructor should make it clear that group leaders are free to go about this assignment any way they choose and that they are competing against the other groups to obtain a reasonably close answer in the shortest time possible. After starting, the instructor notes the elapsed time as each group produces a good answer, and posts the time. Groups are then asked to describe how they organized themselves on a scale of 0 (mechanistic) to 10 (organic). These results are posted under the heading “Organization Structure.”

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