Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change

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Harvard Business School Press, 2002 - Business & Economics - 229 pages
Crisis & Renewalpresents a radical view of how all successful organizations evolve and renew themselves and of what managers must do to lead the revival. Contrary to traditional organizational theory, which emphasizes rationality and control in the management of change, this book argues that there are times when managers must deliberately create crises by committing acts of "ethical anarchy" in order to break the constraints of success and renew their organizations.Hurst develops a model of change -- the organizational ecocycle -- to explain how even successful organizations become systematically vulnerable to catastrophe. He brings the model to life with stories of crisis and renewal from both his own management and consulting experiences and a cross-section of enterprises -- from the hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari and the Quakers of the Industrial Revolution to contemporary organizations such as 3M and Nike.Born when people come together to capitalize on an opportunity, young organizations are usually dedicated to innovation and learning. As they grow and age, they become preoccupied with performance. Sooner or later they become constrained by their own success. For, in the pursuit of performance, what were once self-selected roles become designated tasks, flexible teams become rigid structures, open networks give way to closed systems, and control supplants commitment as people change. The risk, says Hurst, is that this single-minded, performance orientation may render organizations dangerously insensitive to subtle changes in the environment, seriously damaging their ability to learn.Renewal-changing a performance organization back into a learning organization-demands the restoration of the excitement, emotional commitment, and values often missing from large enterprises. It involves returning to the founding principles of the firm to reconnect the past with the present. In the aftermath of crisis, only shared values can hold a renewing organization together.Crisis & Renewalgives managers the theoretical grounding and the practical tools for leading their organizations to new life. The Management of Innovation and Change Series.

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Crisis & renewal: meeting the challenge of organizational change

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Management consultant Hurst examines social organization from the Bushmen of southern Africa to the Nike Corporation and concludes that it is only through a process of renewal following a crisis that ... Read full review

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