From Management Education to Civic Reconstruction: The Emerging Ecology of Organizations

By Ronnie Lessem; Sudhanshu Palsule | Go to book overview

7

From crisis to awakening

IBM's cycles of history

THE ORGANIZATION

The awakening

Liz Machtynger, based in IBM's European insurance solutions business, was faced with a dilemna. On the one hand she could see that her company was 'awakening', certainly on the insurance side. In fact, it was patently obvious to her that the focus on business solutions generally, and on knowledge management specifically, was the way her part of IBM was going. In that capacity, moreover, she was building upon foundations set in place by earlier IBM participants on our MMBA programme, such as Sam Manning, Henry Blythe and Brian Foss, who had between them established and marketed a highly successful database product. At the same time she was working very closely with current programme participants Graham Sumner and John Moon, who were actively and explicitly engaged in knowledge management, as were her colleagues in an adjacent learning set, Gavin Brown and Graham Parry. All of them, moreover, were working interdependently with their clients, taking a leaf, as we shall see, out of the old Thomas Watson's book. Catherine Boardman, one of the first MMBA graduates, was closely involved with Lloyd's in London, and Axel Kock, one of the most recent ones, with Allianz in Germany.

On the other hand, all was not rosy in the IBM garden, for Sam and Henry, together with another fellow learning set member of Graham's, Julia Samways, had left the company. While some would argue that that is par for the MBA course Liz and her close senior colleague Brian Foss felt otherwise, particularly given the project based focus-on both IBM and on client companies-of this particular programme. For her, it was as if one part of IBM, the internally facing one, was still in crisis.

Meanwhile, the other externally facing part was awakening, while quite evidently the 'high' lifetime employment period that had obtained in IBM's recent history had been left behind. To that extent she wondered whether, in Lew Gerstner, IBM had found a new prophet to take it into a promised land, or whether it was more of a corporate architect that was required, to

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From Management Education to Civic Reconstruction: The Emerging Ecology of Organizations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables x
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - Knowledge Creating Ecology 3
  • 2 - From Business School to Learning Society 20
  • 3 - Organizational Ecology 41
  • 4 - Ordinary and Extraordinary Management 67
  • 5 - Work and Soul 90
  • 6 - Towards the Individualized Corporation 101
  • 7 - From Crisis to Awakening 122
  • 8 - The Age of Business Ecosystems 144
  • 9 - The Stories We Are 161
  • 10 - The Development Spectrum 173
  • 11 - Information Space 187
  • 12 - Spiral Dynamics 201
  • 13 - Freeing Up Societies 221
  • 14 - Communities at Peace 240
  • 15 - Enhancing Life Through Water 264
  • 16 - Sustainable Development 289
  • 17 - Entering the Catalytic Zone 311
  • Index 333
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