Organizational Behavior

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How to Change an Organization Without Blowing It Up

Too often, organizational change occurs all at once, on a large scale, and often in response to crisis. Yet we know from a great deal of experience that such transformation attempts often fail, fostering employee discontent and producing mediocre solutions with little lasting impact. Continuously pursuing smaller-scale changes — and weaving them together — offers a practical middle path between large-scale transformation and small-scale pilot projects

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Inside the World of the Project Baron

In industrial sectors such as consulting, advertising, filmmaking, software, architecture, engineering and construction, most individual businesses, by definition, are “project-based firms.” This article proposes the term “baronies” to describe the organizational units that direct the projects within project-based firms, and highlights the roles that barons play in three basic types of project-based firms: dominions, tight federations and loose federations.

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Courtesy of Henry Mintberg.

Debunking Management Myths

“Management” or “leadership”? Management, according to McGill University’s Henry Mintzberg, is often misunderstood. Sometimes it is idealized as work that should involve detached planning and strategizing. But many of the most interesting strategies emerge as managers deal with small actions day to day.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sharon Drummond.

Nature’s Rules

“Any one of us — and any one of our organizations — could be forgiven for behaving at the moment like a bear confronting winter,” writes Martin Reeves. And he doesn’t mean “bearishly,” like investors. “No, I mean behaving literally like a bear — which is to say, shutting down the system. Hibernating. Certainly feels like the wise course just now.”

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The Benefits of a Coaching Culture

The practice of coaching as a tool for work force and leadership development has gained popularity in recent years. In theory, coaching asks supervisors to spend more time giving constructive, individualized feedback on performance to subordinates, rather than barking orders and sending their troops to boot-camp training programs.

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The Roots of Sustainability

Many companies now offer slick “sustainability reports” along with their annual reports as indicators of their performance. The problem is that none of this espoused benevolence creates true sustainability. The root of this problem is neither business’s misunderstanding of what’s at stake nor corporate cynicism about the sustainability cause (though these may be contributing factors). The problem really stems from management’s failure to see unsustainability as a deep-seated systems failure.

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Games Managers Play at Budget Time

Often companies” budgeting processes don”t result in capital being invested optimally. The reason may be that strong personalities trump even well-designed systems. The authors profile five archetypes of bad behavior that line managers use to subvert logical decision making in order to grab resources. They also show how to counteract such behavior and instill values that lead to better use of investment capital.

Showing 1-20 of 34