LIFE IN ORGANIZATIONS: Systems as People Experience Them by Rosabeth Moss & Barry Stein--Eds. Kanter
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LIFE IN ORGANIZATIONS: Systems as People Experience Them

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lively, balanced, consistently readable anthology of articles on organizational life, competently arranged and introduced by Kanter (Men and Women of the Corporation, 1977) and Stein. In the section on executive modes, Kanter herself explores some of the perks and pressures (""The room at the top is all windows""); Warren Bennis wryly details why leaders can't lead--why routine drives out non-routine work; Paul Von Ward evaluates Kissinger as a department manager; and Rush Loving, Jr. charts Continental Air Lines president Bob Six's search for a successor. There are equally revealing, wide-angled views of middle management and low-level jobs, including pieces by Studs Terkel on a Ford plant foreman, Barbara Garson and Bennett Kremen (separately) on the Lordstown sabotage, and Louise Kapp Howe on retail sales workers. These selections tend to reinforce commonplace characterizations of kinds of work--how bottom-level jobs are tightly controlled and often repetitive, how middle management workers consider themselves keepers of the faith--but the individual articles are diverting nonetheless. Other sections document contrasting workplace environments (highly politicized, cooperative, squabbly and self-defeating), corporate skulduggery, and companies which have thrived on a chance mix of talents or succumbed to poor policy-making. Kanter and Stein add discriminating judgments--how many founders of companies could no longer meet hiring requirements, when long-time employees have an inside track--and include a few worthy pieces of their own.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1979
Publisher: Basic Books