American Academic Quotes
While numerous studies have dealt with the nature of organization-environment relations, the first major attempt to identify the types of organizational structure and managerial practice that are appropriate for different environmental conditions was conducted by Burns and Stalker, who studied twenty manufacturing firms in England and Scotland. Of these, fifteen were in the electronics industry, four were in research and development, and one was a major manufacturer. The particular environmental conditions examined were the rates of change in the scientific technology and the relevant product markets of the firms being studied.
We struggle to manage complexity every day. We follow intricate diets to lose weight, juggle multiple remotes to operate our home entertainment systems, face proliferating data at the office, and hack through thickets of regulation at tax time. But complexity isn't destiny. Sull and Eisenhardt argue there's a better way: By developing a few simple yet effective rules, you can tackle even the most complex problems.
Innovation plans, by contrast, are loaded with assumptions. Sure, some hard facts are available, but more is unknown than known. The past is no longer precedent. Thus, the innovator's job cannot be to deliver a proven result; it must be to discover what is possible, that is, to learn, by converting assumptions into knowledge as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
Many years ago I heard a paper read by a colleague who was very philosophically astute and informed. The paper was on ethics, and it was rigorously argued, proper distinctions were made, and the critique of other points of view was cogent.... When my colleague finished his paper the man chairing the meeting said, "That's not ethics. Ethics has to do with prophecy. I learned that from Rabbi Abraham Heschel."
Today, organizations are competing in complex environments so that an accurate understanding of their goals and the methods for attaining those goals is vital. The Balanced Scorecard translates an organization's mission and strategy into a comprehensive set of performance measures that provides the framework for a strategic measurement and management system.
As the field of organization studies has grown enormously over the last decades, the attention the field pays to public organizations and public policy problems has withered. This despite the fact that the public sector, as a percentage of GNP, is much larger now than it was when these classics were written.
The development, strengthening and multiplication of socially minded businessmen is the central problem of business. Moreover, it is one of the great problems of civilization. Our objective, therefore, should be the multiplication of men who will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.
The theories in this chapter, focusing on the individual level of analysis, differ somewhat from those in the next chapter, in which a more organizational level of analysis is employed. Although all of the theories are essentially cognitive and social definitionist in nature, particularly as developed in the general sociological literature, there are at least two important subgroups within the social constructionist perspective.
In its most basic sense, organizational memory refers to stored information from an organization's history that can be brought to bear on present decisions. This information is stored as a consequence of implementing decisions to which they refer, by individual recollections, and through shared interpretations.
I find myself just a little annoyed at the tendency of all of us to adopt certain clichés about decentralization and then glibly announce that we're for it. I have been somewhat amused at some of my colleagues who are most vocal in expounding the virtues of decentralization and yet quite unconsciously are apt to be busily engaged in developing their own personal control over activities for which they are responsible.
It is time to stop paving the cow paths. Instead of embedding outdated processes in silicon and software, we should obliterate them and start over. We should reengineer our businesses: use the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance.