- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 11 min
The practice of separating the two top jobs is common in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, but it is not necessarily an improvement over the U.S. model of combining the two positions.
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A “postcompany” school of experts says information technology is enabling a new world of seamless collaboration among businesses. They recommend that executives tear down the “walls” and merge their companies into amorphous “enterprise networks.” Nick Carr counters that new technologies will never conquer cutthroat competition and shows why managers need to be wary of alliances that foreclose opportunities for advantage.
Organizational structure, the authors contend, is increasingly irrelevant to how work is actually done. Citing BP, Duke Power and W.L. Gore and Associates, they demonstrate that it is not formal structure but the adaptability of processes, people and technology that enables companies to build lasting value.
Vertical “command and control” sabotages organizations that need bottom-up innovation to be competitive. Yet organizational integration is increasingly essential. New research shows how technology is helping cutting-edge companies meet the challenge by integrating horizontally.
How one company implemented a “telework” program that transformed paper-based processes and reliance on voice communications into automated procedures supported by full-scale connectivity.
Are Japanese companies changing their practices of lifetime employment and seniority-based pay? Will a new system based on individual performance affect their competitors?
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.
Falling communication costs are enabling companies to decentralize their decision-making structures. Now they must seek a balance between empowerment and control.
To shift toward high-quality service strategies, managers must adopt training and recruiting policies that compensate for institutional barriers to human resource investment.
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