- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (January 30, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780875848419
- ISBN-13: 978-0875848419
- ASIN: 0875848419
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First Hardcover – January 30, 1998
"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb
"Wise, warm, smart, and funny. You must read this book." ―Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of "Quiet" Pre-order today
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The lure of new and profitable markets has lead many companies to formulate strategies to capture these markets. This focus on strategy often leads to downsizing and the shedding of old businesses in favor of a "lean" economic model that stresses outsourcing. The strategy that leads to downsizing has its short-term rewards--a fatter bottom line and happy shareholders.
Jeffrey Pfeffer argues that much of this downsizing is nothing more than a throwback to 100-year-old employment practices. Instead of cutting costs as a means to increase profits, companies should focus more on building revenue by relying on solid people-management skills. Through dozens of examples, Pfeffer demonstrates that successful companies worry more about people and the competence in their organizations than they do about having the right strategy. Pfeffer contends that the strategy part is relatively easy--it's the day-to-day execution that's hard. Companies that understand the relationship between people and profits are the ones that usually win in the long run.
From Library Journal
Pfeffer (Competitive Advantage Through People, LJ 2/15/94) argues persuasively that organizations typically fail to consider their culture and capabilities, particularly when planning for change. He addresses a number of people issues, such as downsizing, hiring practices, compensation approaches, and alignment of management practice with stated values. Although the author favors a fundamental approach, he shores it up with anecdotal information, logic, and wit, noting, for example, that downsizing does not eliminate costs but could be radically counterproductive (i.e., no expenses, no enterprise). Further, he gives examples of organizations that, while decidedly low-tech, manage to produce profits often associated with high-tech enterprises. Pfeffer further points out how a number of organizations in typically low-margin sectors outperform their competitors through an alignment of values. Indeed, Pfeffer's examples emphasize doing the right thing the right way. This book should be required reading for those planning organizational change.?Steven Silkunas, SEPTA/FRONTIER, Lansdale, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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- that it is essential to work in the right sector,
- that the size of the organization is crucial,
- that it is necessary to have an international precense,
- that downsizing is indispensible, and
- that it is necessary to have a technological lead.
Then the author clearly and impressively presents the enormous amount of evidence of the last decade showing the strong association between how organization treat people and how they score on financial and operational performance indicators. Pfeffer describes the following seven HR practices that demonstrable correlate with organization success. He names these practices High Performance Work Practices. They are:
1. Employment security
2. Selective hiring of new personnel
3. Self-managed teams and decentralization of decision making as the basic principles of organization design
4. Comparatively high compensation contingent on organizational performance
5. Extensive training
6. Reduces status distinctions and barriers, including dress, languag, office arrangements, and wage differences across levels
7. Extensive sharing of financial and performance information throughout the organization
This list contains some elements that may seem counterintuitive to some. For instance: how can it be that high wages contribute to financial performance? Don't they just keep the profits low? And how can you afford to be selective in this hard labour market? And how can companies afford to invest much in training of personnel? Aren't employees so mobile and disloyal that you run the risk of training them for your competitor? Speaking about this, how can you in this time of employability of employment security? And it is wise to have an open information policy? If you'd do that, wouldn't you weaken your position by feeding your competitor with valuable information?
If you read this book you will find crystal-clear answers to these questions. The conclusion is that the seven practices do indeed work.
Thanks Dr. Pfeffer
The very title conveys a powerful message "... Building Profits by Putting People First." Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, people were considered costs and therefore something to be minimized or eliminated as much as possible.
However, this attitude is of little relevance in the Information Age of today. While larger organizations struggle to adapt to actually valuing people for what they are - highly valued assets, a golden opportunity exists for Entrepreneurs who, in forming the companies of tomorrow, seek to maximize profits by putting people first.
Based on his research, Pfeffer offers several HR practices that are common in effective organizations. His book is divided into two main sections:
Part I - People-Centered Management And Organizational Success
Part II - Barriers to Implementing Performance Knowledge: How Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong
For a quick assessment of the power of this book, I recommend you read chapter 10 first - "People, Profits, and Perspective" and be sure to review figure 10-1 "WHAT A PEOPLE-BASED STRATEGY DOES" on page 301.
Michael Davis - Editor, Byvation