From Publishers Weekly
In today's heated job market, companies must look within to develop and nurture talented employees, say O'Reilly and Pfeffer, both professors at Stanford Business School. They offer a detailed look at several companiesAamong them, Cisco, Men's Warehouse and PSS World MedicalAthat are profitable in competitive industries and that have successfully retained and promoted their staffs. Following a brief company history, the authors present a straightforward discussion of each company's culture and policies, in some cases including quotations from its executives. Occasionally, the secrets of a company's success are obvious: Southwest Airlines has carefully chosen a niche market; it puts high value on customer service and its employees feel as if their daily work will contribute to the future of the company. Certainly, CEO Herb Kelleher is part of the winning formula, but Southwest's business is run differently than other airlines. Its employees can work at different jobs and financial data about the company's performance as well as its competitors is shared regularly with staffers. Similarly, PSS Medical values its employees and works very hard at both recruiting and training people who will fit in at the company. With its emphasis on detailed anecdotes, this unusually engaging management book proves that concentrating on "soft issues" like employee values can give a company the competitive edge. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Stressing the need to attract and retain the best people has become a mantra for corporate executives and human-resource departments. O'Reilly and Pfeffer warn, though, that too much effort is spent on attracting star performers and too little on fostering the creativity, drive, and ambition of current employees. Both are Stanford University business professors, and both have written popular management books. O'Reilly is coauthor of Winning through Innovation
(1997); Pfeffer's titles include The Knowing-Doing Gap
(1999). A common theme running through these earlier books and this new joint effort is that corporate strategy, values, culture, policies, procedures, and management practices all must be in alignment for companies to take advantage of the emotional and intellectual resources of the people that work for them. O'Reilly and Pfeffer let the stories of eight companies like Cisco Systems, Southwest Airlines, and the Men's Wearhouse "take center stage" to illustrate how internal talent can be maximized. The authors also suggest reasons why competitors of these companies have not been able to replicate their success stories. David RouseCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved