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Productive Workplaces: Dignity, Meaning, and Community in the 21st Century [Hardcover]

Marvin R. Weisbord
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 11, 2012 0470900172 978-0470900178 3rd Edition, 25 Year Anniversary

Strategy and Business 2012 Organizational Culture Book of the Year

This third edition of the classic resource, Productive Workplaces is smart, well-written and well-researched, thoughtful, somewhat provocative, and a one-of-a-kind review of the integration of economics, technology, and people. It covers such topics as: the work on self as integral to organizational change; the revision of Lewinian concepts for a new era; and the history behind “getting everybody improving whole systems” as a response to fast change and increasing diversity (not the same as using any particular method). The themes, case studies (many revisited), and models are as relevant as ever.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Productive Workplaces

It's been twenty-five years since the publication of Marvin Weisbord's classic book Productive Workplaces. This third edition of the bestselling text revises that thoughtful, well-written, well-researched, somewhat provocative, one-of-a-kind inquiry into the integration of economics, technology and people. Weisbord shows how "experts solving problems" evolved toward "getting everybody improving whole systems," and why the latter strategy is the only one likely to satisfy you in a diverse world of non-stop change.

From his work in corporations and medical schools, Weisbord demonstrates how novel practices grounded in scientific management, participative management, and sociotechnical systems—all based on shared values of ration- al cooperation—became obsolete over time. He traces today's practices back more than 100 years, using his experiences as manager and consultant to illuminate what works and what doesn't. Reviewing the influence on workplaces of Frederick Taylor, Kurt Lewin, Douglas McGregor, Eric Trist, and Fred Emery, the author encourages you to explore their evolving change theories in concert with your own values.

Against the mindless repetition of shopworn techniques, Weisbord juxtaposes effective methods for getting everybody improving the whole. He goes further, advocating work on self—e.g., awareness of your own assumptions about human nature—as the bedrock for change strategies that trump "shorter, faster, cheaper." His themes, illustrative case studies, and useful models come across as relevant today as they were a quarter of a century ago.

This third edition includes many new features—a robust Instructor's Manual, a revisioning of organization development myths, a critical appreciation of new large group methods, case study follow-ups across 15 to 30 years, and 40 personal essays by practitioners influenced by earlier editions. Their writings show how the themes and values they share with Weisbord influence current practices around the world.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Productive Workplaces

"Weisbord has been a major voice in the theory and practice of organization development (OD) since the early 1970's. This book is a wonderful history and reinterpretation of many of the events, schools of thought, and controversies that have punctuated the field from its beginnings. It should be required reading for every Organization Behavior and Development scholar. Among its many virtues, the book is beautifully written." —Peter Vaill, senior scholar and emeritus professor of management, Antioch University Ph.D. Program in Leadership and Change; author, Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water, and Spirited Leading and Learning

"During my 33-year career, I have been involved in publishing well over 1,000 books. Productive Workplaces is certainly among the top five most influential in terms of its impact on the organizations in which I worked, as well as on my personal leadership, and management concepts, and practices." —Steven Piersanti, president and publisher, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.; formerly president, Jossey-Bass Publishers

"As a professor in graduate studies in leadership and business psychology, I see my role as passing on to a new generation the values and lessons learned from a 25-year career in organizational effectiveness. Marvin Weisbord is a master whose wisdom I encourage my students to seek out." —Connie S. Fuller, Ph.D., associate chair and assistant professor, Business Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; coauthor, Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap: Creating Authentic Teams for High Performance at Work

"If somebody asks me to name just one good book on management, or organizational development, or social psychology, I give them the same answer: Productive Workplaces. It addresses the heady topic of meaning and dignity in work with writing that is as engaging as a well-written novel." —Gil Steil, Gil Steil Associates, Boston, Massachusetts


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Pfeiffer; 3rd Edition, 25 Year Anniversary edition (January 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470900172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470900178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A must read book" August 1, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Reading the first edition of Productive Workplace had a major impact on my career, should I say, on my life. This 25th anniversary edition with much new material renewed my interest. Weisbord shares with the reader his intimate knowledge of the evolution of organizations' management over the last century. Relying on in-depth research, personal relationships with key actors in the field and his own experienced as manager and consultant, he presents many case studies, key principles, values and methods at the core of successful organizational transformation projects. As a Strategic Planning consultant, I have used his "whole system in the room" Future Search process for years to the great benefit of my clients. Like this book, Future Search is a process that makes a difference on the lives of organizations and their members.

To this so stimulating content, add testimonies from forty consultants, managers, and community leaders from all over the world who relate the impact earlier versions of this book had on their work, their career. Powerful!
Beware, once you start reading Productive Workplaces, you won't be able to put it down.

Jean-Pierre Beaulieu,MBA
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Marv has done it again. He has managed to write about management and organisation development in a way that reads like an interesting novel. I am so amazed how the stories of management and organisations can be so compelling, and can contain both the theory/principle and practical tips. Kurt Lewin's "There is nothing so practical as a good theory" rings loud and clear throughout the book.
I have read the previous two editions of the book, and the first edition was an eye-opener and life-changer for me. This 25th anniversary version is having the same impact on me, as the context and content of the book has grown and developed since 1987.
I would give this book more than 5 stars if I could, and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the field of OD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of information April 3, 2014
By David K
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Weisbord provides a lot of information, and most of it is interesting and worth the time. He does stray a little too much into his personal realm, but it doesn't really detract from the book.
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