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The Individualized Corporation: A Fundamentally New Approach to Management Hardcover – September 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harperbusiness; First Edition edition (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887308066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887308062
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,913,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Ghoshal (London Business Sch.) and Bartlett (Harvard Business Sch.), who coauthored Transnational Management (Irwin, 1995), claim that a new model in which companies are managed as social institutions is replacing prior management models. The authors effectively argue that managers are now becoming responsible for transforming how employees behave?not merely reengineering what they do. The "individualized corporation" that results has the "ability to inspire individual creativity and initiative in all its people" and to "link and leverage pockets of entrepreneurial activity and individual expertise." The authors describe the management implications of these new tenets through the use of actual corporate examples, including 3M, McKinsey and Company, and Philips. Their work nicely complements other recent books on employee empowerment, such as Warren Bennis and Robert Townsend's Reinventing Leadership (Morrow, 1995). Strongly recommended for all business collections.?Kathy Shimpock, Muchmore & Wallwork Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

It is rare for an article in a scholarly journal to attract attention outside academic circles, but a three-part series entitled "Changing the Role of Top Management" that appeared in the Harvard Business Review in late 1994 and early 1995 has created a buzz in the popular business press and spawned a new catchphrase. Now its authors elaborate on the concept of the "individualized corporation," which they unveiled. Ghoshal is chair of strategic leadership at the London Business School and has been identified as one of a handful of cutting-edge management thinkers based in Europe. Bartlett is a professor at the Harvard Business School. Although some of what the two propose sounds a lot like empowerment and organizational learning, theirs is a new, fully elaborated model that calls for a restructuring of the organization and a redefinition of management. The authors challenge top management to emphasize purpose and process, not strategy and structure, and to move beyond direction and control to create an environment that makes the most of each individual's knowledge and skills. Sure to be in demand in the business collection. David Rouse

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Customer Reviews

The material is good.
Bill Godfrey
How to use these concepts in contexts that differ than those appeared in this book is worth to further study.
Der Chao Chen
The book is full of valuable insights.
bvjunn@monsanto.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Godfrey on December 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a sound and thorough description of the principles and practices underlying a shift from the hierarchical, bureaucratic mode of managing to one based on recognition of the talents of the people within the organisation, which seeks to enhance and release those talents for shared ends.
Having said that, it is a bit difficult to see why the book has been given such extravagant praise. Nearly everything in it was anticipated by the Pinchots in 1993 and the themes covered are very well established (and were already established when it was first published in 1997). Although it is not new, the principles are still not widely followed, so any additional material that may serve to spread the message is welcome.
The material is good. The reliance on a lot of examples makes it very discursive, but the sub-heads through the text are useful. There is a slightly breathless air of 'discovery' through the book that would be acceptable if the ideas and prescriptions were in fact new.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Turgay BUGDACIGIL on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
"In 1682, English astronomer Sir Edmund Halley had the good fortune to be at the right place at the right time. His observations on the spectacular comet that now bears his name helped earn him the prestigious title of Astronomer Royal.More important to this professional scientist was the fact that this fortuitous opportunity inspired a flurry of other research activity that led to new and important discoveries about the nature of our universe." Sumantra Ghoshal and Christopher A. Bartlett write, "While hardly on the same grand scale as Sir Edmund, we, too, have been fortunate to have had a front-row seat at a once-in-a-lifetime event- the collapse of an outmoded corporate form and the emergence of a new management model that we believe will propel today's companies well into the twenty-first century. At the heart of the emerging model lie not only some very different organizational practices and processes but also a fundamentally different management philosophy. In this book, we describe this new management model and illustrate how some of the pioneers of this new approach have implemented it in their companies" (from the Introduction).
They divide their book into four parts. In the first part, they present the concept of the Individualized Corporation. In the second part, they describe the organizational characteristics required to develop three core capabilities that distinguish the Individualized Corporation. In the third part, they explore the managerial implications of these new organizational characteristics and focus on how companies can go about building and managing the Individualized Corporation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Kroese on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sumantra Ghoshal is Professor of Strategy and International Management at the London Business School, UK. Previously he was Professor of Public Policy at French business school INSEAD. Christopher A. Bartlett is Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. They are both prominent authors of numerous management books and articles. This book won the 1997 Igor Ansoff Award. The book is split up in four parts, each consisting of 2-to-4 chapters.
Part I - Birth of a New Corporate Model serves as an introduction, describing "the most profound change in management in a lifetime": the move from organization man to individualized corporation. "In this book, we will describe this management model and illustrate how some of the pioneers of this new approach have implemented it in their own companies." The first chapter, The Rediscovery of Management, frames the historical context and describes the authors' research motivation. The second chapter, Rebirth of an Organization Man, provides an example of how the transformational changes at one company affected the activities, motivation, and performance of a "classic organization man." In Part II - From Organization Man to Individualized Corporation, the authors describe the organizational characteristics required to develop the three core capabilities that distinguish the 'individualized corporation'. The first core capability is its ability to inspire individual creativity and initiative in all its people, built on a fundamental faith in individuals. The second core characteristic is the ability to link and leverage pockets of entrepreneurial activity and individual expertise by building an integrated process of organizational learning. The third core feature is its ability to continuously renew itself.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gautam Ghosh on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Management thinkers over the last 8 decades have been trying to come up with the perfect structure, whether it's the functional structure, the matric, the SBU structure and it is generally felt that if this problem is figured out the rest of the pieces of jigsaw will fall in place. Ghoshal and Bartlett differ, and drawing from the thoughts of other thinkers make a case that structure does not matter so much unless your processes make your company a place where the people love to come to. Where the control, compliance paradigm of organizations are replaced by the discipline, stretch, trust paradigm.
The book is packed with examples but an area that is not stressed which crops up again and again is that of leadership. Whether it is Percy Barvenik of ABB, or Welch of GE or Rajat Gupta of McKinsey, or Grove of Intel. They all perfected the art of "cooking sweet with sour" or combining the O and E factors for development (as Nohria and Beer put it)...The authors could have stressed more on that factor.
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