The Conduct of the Corporation

The Conduct of the Corporation

The Conduct of the Corporation

The Conduct of the Corporation

Excerpt

This book is about the modern business corporation, both as a collectivity and as an assembly of persons. "The Conduct of the Corporation" thus refers to the way representatives of that singular organization act in a highly complex and occasionally hazardous environment, to the way various standardized parts of the system act and interact internally, and to the way types and categories of persons behave at work.

The six parts of this book bear titles that testify to playful alliteration. Part One, Challenge, comprises a single chapter that explores the current uncertainty about the place of the large corporations in American life and the resulting ambiguity about the powers and rewards of their executives and managers. Most of the rest of the book is designed to explore the internal organization and external relations of large business enterprises, emphasizing their comforting or deadly certainty as well as the sources of variation and lack of predictability.

Part Two, Conjugation, is concerned with the orderly bringing together of highly specialized human components into a single complex network of jobs, authorities, communications, and rules. In a more formal treatise these chapters would comprise the "principles" or even the "theory" of complex organization. Part Three, Counterpoint, attends to the side of human behavior in corporations that, if not seamy, at least has a pattern different from that appearing on the "face" side. Here I shall note a variety of departures from established "theory," but departures so regular and predictable that they must be incorporated into any realistic theory of corporate conduct.

Parts Two and Three, then, deal with organization, official and . . .

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