MEN AND WOMEN OF THE CORPORATION by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Kirkus Star

MEN AND WOMEN OF THE CORPORATION

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Large corporations, probably the most effective organizations ever developed to achieve economic objectives, invariably prove inviting targets for moral philosophers on grounds that typically have more to do with humanistic bias than any quarrel with efficiency. In her inductive assay of the nation's dominant business enterprises, sociologist Kanter has avoided this ideological trap and produced a book that will prove instructive for individuals working almost anyplace from the typing pool to an executive suite. The author focuses on an investor-owned, profit-making concern, discreetly dubbed the Industrial Supply Corp. (Indisco). But she makes clear that her conclusions about this far from apocryphal firm--which, along with its multinational counterparts, dominates domestic employment opportunities--apply equally to government bureaucracies, educational systems, and other institutions: ""wherever there is a large administrative apparatus that is hierarchically organized."" Specifically at issue is how the distribution and exercise of power at Indisco affects not only managerial personnel but also underlings. Work experiences, Kanter convincingly contends, shape people's social attitudes and behavior. As a result of corporate conditioning, many women are still willing to settle for symbolic or psychological rather than material rewards. Or there is the man given responsibility without authority--who becomes an archetypal bureaucrat going strictly by the book. Kanter cites recent studies--notably, E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful--to suggest that large corporations are not critical elements in the achievement of economic efficiency. She also recommends ways in which corporate power might be redistributed to improve the lot of organizational have-nots, conceding, however, that large-scale reforms of the economic system itself will be required to attain meaningfully improved working conditions for the majority of people. A worthy heir of Ida M. Tarbell and her muckraking colleagues, Kanter has produced a valuable and credible study. Like Standard Oil, Indisco may be an interesting place to visit but few would care to labor there.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1977
ISBN: 0465044549
Publisher: Basic Books