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A straightforward overview of organizational theory and practice.

A handbook for creating a responsive company culture that offers employees a chance to shine.

In this work, Sanford (The Responsible Entrepreneur, 2014) encourages business leaders to move away from top-down authoritarian decision-making to a more collaborative process that incorporates the needs of all stakeholders. Drawing on organizational theory and her own consulting work with a number of large companies, such as the bottled-water company Deer Park, Sanford offers examples of successful organizational change and the logic underlying such corporate evolution. The book also addresses what she calls “toxic” elements (hierarchical decision-making, performance reviews and feedback, restructuring) in many traditional workplaces. These, she says, must be eradicated before one can implement the titular “regenerative” process successfully—a sort of whole-lifestyle makeover. In the book’s third section, Sanford guides readers through the process of applying her regenerative principles to their businesses, dividing the process into five thematic sections, or “phases,” such as “Evolve into Strategic Disruption” and “Evolve a Courageous Culture.” Several chapters conclude with questions designed to drive discussion and generate ideas (“What principles should guide the way we redesign our systems so that their original purposes are fulfilled, even as we make them more workable and developmental?”). Although the more theoretical portions of the book do indulge in jargon, Sanford’s prose is mostly unambiguous: “bad work design relegates human beings to activities that are repetitive, uncreative, unrewarding, and spirit killing.” The author makes a compelling case for adopting a new approach to structuring work, with solid examples of successful practices and guidance for business leaders who are just starting their evaluations of their own workplaces. Business-book connoisseurs will find plenty of new material in this text along with a cogent, persuasive argument.

A straightforward overview of organizational theory and practice.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4736-6910-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Nicholas Brealey

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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