Leading the Living Organization: Growth Strategies for Management

Leading the Living Organization: Growth Strategies for Management

Leading the Living Organization: Growth Strategies for Management

Leading the Living Organization: Growth Strategies for Management

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

We are all members of organizations. Most of us work for one. Many of us are volunteers for one or more. Many of us worship in organizations. Some of us manage them or even create them.

The basic thesis of this book is that these organizations are, or should be, alive. They are living systems and should be treated as such. They are living because they derive many of their most important characteristics from the genetic makeup of their members. Because of their origins, organizations exhibit the same essential processes and structures that you and I display.

Part of the task of this book is to explain just what those essential processes and structures are. But this only lays the foundation for a more important assignment. If organizations are living systems, they should be treated as such. The bulk of the book, therefore, is devoted to the question: How should a living organization be managed?

This is not a scientific question. It is a practical problem. The first step toward a solution is to learn to look at organizations as life forms. This perspective, when mastered, reveals a certain degree of natural wisdom in the way we traditionally structure and manage organizations. Yet it also exposes many flaws in our conventional management methods. The living systems perspective enables us to diagnose these errors and correct them. It also assists us in coping with change that may call for creative response, organizational mutations so to speak.

If you accept the basic premise that organizations are alive, you should find this book very helpful as a guide to managing them. The book is . . .

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