- Research Feature
- Read Time: 26 min
A company’s ability to execute today’s strategy while developing tomorrow’s arises from the context within which its employees operate.
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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.
When companies act dishonestly, the psychological costs outweigh any short-term gains. Dishonesty ultimately decreases repeat business and increases worker turnover and employee theft. Degradation of a company’s reputation, adverse effects on employee values and increased surveillance of workers through expensive new systems eat at an organization’s health. The authors offer proof that honesty is still the best policy.
Growth is not perpetual, and its continued pursuit can be costly, especially for large, mature companies. Instead, say the authors, smart managers should acknowledge the natural limits of their company‘s path to growth and consider viable alternatives.
When an activity turns into a buzzword, the odds are high that managers will stop thinking consciously about the behavior they‘re trying to elicit and the best way to set expectations clearly. When it comes to the messy, human realities of management, a dose of straight talk — and clear thinking — can go a long way.
Traditional teams are not faring well in today business environment because they are too inwardly focused and lack flexibility. The authors detail the high levels of performance of a new, externally focused team, the X-team and outline the five components of X-teams they have studied.
Informal groups of employees do much of the important work in organizations today. To help those networks reach their full potential, executives must come to grips with how they really function.
The corporation has emerged as perhaps the most powerful social and economic institution of modern society. Yet, corporations and their managers suffer from a profound social ambivalence. Believing this to be symptomatic of the unrealistically pessimistic assumptions that underlie current management doctrine, Ghoshal et al. encourage managers to replace the narrow economic assumptions of the past.
As a tool for business process reengineering, “the matrix” can help managers determine how quickly change should proceed, in what order changes should take place, whether to start at a new site, and whether the proposed systems are stable and coherent. For a medical products manufacturer, the matrix of change provided unique, useful guidelines for change management.
In turbulent environments, market leaders must repeat innovations, establish customer networks, sense the flow of new products, and share responsibility for new strategy throughout the firm. They must also balance the firm’s capabilities for leveraging, strengthening, and diversifying its distinct assets or skills.
How can managers improve the ethical quality of their decisions and ensure that their decisions will not backfire? The authors discuss three types of theories that will help executives understand how they make the judgments on which they base their decisions. By understanding those theories, they can learn how to make better, more ethical decisions.
The authors track a strategic decision in a Fortune 500 corporation, identify political obstacles that overshadowed the process, and highlight turning points in the strategy’s direction. The unfolding Techno story provides a close look at the implications for organizing team-based processes and managing the politics of technological change.
What makes an organization effective? Were the answer easy — and easily applied — all organizations would be equally effective. “I have begun to consider another view of organizational effectiveness, in which organizations do not slot themselves into established images so much as build their own unique solutions to problems,” writes Henry Mintzberg. “’Do your own thing’ is its motto, LEGO its metaphor.” Organizations need focus, but they also need balance.
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