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The Boundaryless Organization: Breaking the Chains of Organizational Structure Paperback – August 10, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Most solutions being recommended today for improving corporate performance prescribe reducing hierarchy by changing organizational structure, altering boundaries, and overcoming barriers within the organization. The authors go much further, calling for a "boundaryless organization," and they consider much more than the traditional and the obvious boundaries that exist within organizations. This book grew out of work done by the authors as consultants hired by General Electric's CEO Jack Welch, who first approached them with the concept of a "boundaryless organization." Applying what they learned in the effort to transform the way GE did business and from numerous other examples, they consider the vertical, horizontal, external, and geographic boundaries that exist for organizations. The authors provide tools to help measure the degree to which boundaries exist, demonstrate the consequences of boundaries, and identify steps to eliminate them. David Rouse --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Winner of the Executive Leadership Award

"If your organization is ready for transformation, The Boundaryless Organization will provide a simple but provocative framework either for getting started or for accelerating the pace."
— from the foreword by Lawrence A. Bossidy, chairman and CEO, Honeywell Corporation

"This is the best book on globalization and the seamless organization that I have read."
— David H. Komansky, chairman and CEO, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.

"A very important contribution."
— from the foreword by C. K. Prahalad, coauthor of Competing for the Future

"Attacks the very core of traditional management structure, with all of its walls, boundaries, and limitations."
Quality Progress

"Outlines how companies can make the change from rigid structures to ones where ideas, resources, and information can flow freely."
— HR Strategies & Tactics

"A refreshing guide to innovative ways to do business . . . . Each part includes a questionnaire that readers can use to determine where they stand on a continuum between boundaried and boundaryless status."
Journal of Management Consulting

"Recommended reading."
— CIO


"Outlines how companies can make the change from rigid structures to ones where ideas, resources, and information can flow freely."
HR Strategies & Tactics

"A refreshing guide to innovative ways to do business . . . . Each part includes a questionnaire that readers can use to determine where they stand on a continuum between boundaried and boundaryless status."
Journal of Management Consulting

"Recommended reading."
CIO


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787940003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787940003
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
The title is a misnomer: Although the authors do indeed suggest how to "break through the chains of organizational structure", they provide an enlightening explanation of four different types of boundaries (vertical, horizontal, external, and geographic) which give definition to any organization. They do not advocate the total elimination of these boundaries (which is impossible, anyway); rather, they suggest how to rearrange them so that an organization can thrive. For the authors, there is what they call "A New World Order":
"In living organisms, membranes exist to give the organization shape and definition. They have sufficient structural strength to prevent the organism from dissolving into an amorphous mess....Like a living organism, the boundaryless organization also evolves and grows, and the placement of boundaries may shift....Because the boundaryless organization is a living continuum, not a fixed state, the ongoing management challenge is to find the right balance of boundaryless behavior, to determine how permeable to make boundaries, and where to place them."
This brief excerpt from the first chapter correctly suggests the purpose of this remarkable book: To explain HOW to meet that challenge.
The material is presented within four parts plus a conclusion. The first explains how to achieve "free movement up and down" by crossing vertical boundaries; the second explains how to achieve "free movement side to side" by crossing horizontal boundaries; the third explains how to achieve "free movement along the value chain" by crossing external boundaries; and in the fourth part, they explain how to achieve "free global movement" by crossing geographic boundaries.
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Format: Paperback
"Like Marko Polo discovering a new world of trade, organizations today are exploring vast new markets throughout the globe. The process is nothing less than a revolution, breaking down once sacrosanct boundaries of space, time, and nationality...In today's world, there is no longer a dichotomy between domestic and foreign. Global boundaries between companies, markets, and people have become irrevocably blurred...For companies such as Unilever, ABB, and SmithKline Beecham, globalization has become a natural part of their business, an integral part of their culture. For most companies, however, the goal to become truly global in mindset, staff, and market seems a stretch. Although the oportunities are tempting, the effort, knowledge, and skill required are much greater than for running a domestic operation, and the risks-once you probe beneath the surface-are equally enormous"(pp.261-262).
In this context, the authors, in Chapter 8, first put forward the following ten reasons why organizations might want to become more global: competitive survival, cost spreading, trailblazing, rule of three, domino effect, evolutionary forces, technological revolution, search for innovation, ripple effect, and benchmarking against other companies. Then, they discuss seven challenges companies face in making the global leap: (1)Establishing a workable global structure, (2)Hiring global supermanagers, (3)Managing people for a global environment, (4)Learning to love cultural differences, (5)Avoiding parochialism and arrogance, (6)Designing unifying mechanisms and a global mindset, (7)Overcoming complexity.
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Format: Paperback
This is a forward-looking discussion of the paradigm shift from traditional pyramidal organizations to organic, dynamic enterprises that feature permeable boundaries. The book is a triumphant crusade against fiefdoms and for freedom in inter- and intra-organizational life. It demonstrates how "boundaryless" organizations can increase the ability to respond quickly, creatively, flexibly, and in an integrated fashion to market demands. Case studies of change efforts bring the main points alive. Adding to the value of this work are self-diagnostic instruments, charts, and tables. This book is a rich source of insights about organization plus savvy guidelines for taking action. We highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a forward-looking discussion of the paradigm shift from traditional pyramidal organizations to organic, dynamic enterprises that feature permeable boundaries. The book is a triumphant crusade against fiefdoms and boundaries of all types, and for freedom in inter- and intra-organizational life. It demonstrates how "boundaryless" organizations can increase the ability to respond quickly, creatively, flexibly, and in an integrated fashion to market demands. Case studies of change efforts bring the main points alive. Adding to the value of this work are self-diagnostic instruments, charts, and tables. This book is a rich source of insights about organization plus savvy guidelines for taking action. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Received in time and better than forecasted...you can't beat that!
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