By Lane Tracy
Organizations can be viewed as living entities and their leaders as parents, stewards, even physicians. From "living systems theory", as it is known, Tracy provides ways to help manage and guide the organization through its growth and development, and assist in attaining the organization's goals. In doing so, Tracy covers all of the essential topics in management theory and practice - motivation, power, efficiency, effectiveness, communication, control, conflict, stress, leadership, change - but in the clarifying light of this new, dynamic theoretical approach. Organizations are alive or they should be, says Tracy, and thus they derive many of their most important characteristics from the genetic makeup of their members. In fact, they display the same essential human processes and structures. To lay the foundation for understanding the living organization, Tracy first explains what these processes and structures are. From there, he goes on to tackle the overarching question: How should a living organization,be managed? When asked as a practical, results-seeking question, it produces answers that echo much of the "natural wisdom" that has been acquired about conventional management methods - flaws that can be diagnosed as ills and corrected, cured. Tracy's book is not only a "treatise" (out of necessity) and perhaps even a polemic; it is also a manual on the "care and feeding of living organizations". The result is a readable, challenging, ultimately useful resource for management in all capacities in private and public sector organizations.