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Corporate Agility

by mel starrs on July 13, 2007

in Management

The guys at The Future of Work have a book coming out soon on Corporate Agility.  Much of the stuff in this article is the kind of thing that fascinates me, and part of the reason why I did the MBA – to understand how companies work (or don’t).  The book sounds interesting:

In essence we set out to understand the current state of individual-organizational relationships and what employees were looking for in a job – with a particular focus on the workplace, or as we have always preferred to call it, the “work environment,” mindful of the fact that the physical place is only one dimension of the context in which work gets done. And as important as place is in defining work, we were convinced that the tools companies provide to their staff and the human resource management practices they put in place are equally important factors in workforce productivity, to say nothing of how people feel about their work and their employers…

…Prisoners of their outdated business practices and their assumptions about how work gets done, most organizations found themselves losing ground to competitors who had not even been on the map a decade before. They became victims, rather than beneficiaries, of advances in information technology. And at a time when the attraction and retention of qualified, engaged employees had become an even more critical factor in a business’s success or failure, they found themselves out of touch with a workforce that had undergone a dizzying transformation in attitudes, abilities, and ambitions…

…in dynamic and uncertain business environments, more decentralized organizational decision-making and flatter organizational structures were essential for survival. In contrast, organizations in stable, predictable environments where efficiency still mattered actually performed far better with top-down, bureaucratic, command-and-control management style.

This pretty much matches with what Charles Handy says in many of his books.  And if you have an interest in doing an MBA, I’d recommend reading Handy’s Understanding Organisations as a primer. I liked his style of writing very much (probably becuase he’s British rather than American – very few British authors in this field…)