Cover image for The path of least resistance for managers : designing organizations to succeed
The path of least resistance for managers : designing organizations to succeed
Fritz, Robert, 1943-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco, CA : Berrett-Koehler Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 237 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD31 .F758 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Science tells us that energy travels where it is easiest to go, and business consultant Robert Fritz borrows from this concept to provide a concrete methodology that managers can put to use immediately to develop their own paths of least resistance toward success.

Fritz incorporates four crucial activities -- new methods are studied, spread, and adopted; being smart is rewarded; cooperation rather than competition is practiced; and fairness is the standard operating principle -- into a comprehensive guide to the structural laws that govern all organizations. He prescribes a direct approach to redesigning an organization's structure to allow positive practices to follow the paths of least resistance.

Author Notes

Robert Fritz is the founder of the field of structural consulting. He is a founding partner, along with Peter Senge and Charlie Kiefer, of Innovation Associates. He is also founder of The Fritz Consulting Group, and his clients include many Fortune 500 companies. He is a composer, film director, and author of the bestselling books The Path of Least Resistance and Creating: Learning to Become a Creative Force in Your Own Life.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Fritz is the founder of a field called "structural consulting" and has worked extensively with Peter Senge, himself known for his theories on "the learning organization." Fritz is also the author of Corporate Tides (1996), in which he explained the "laws of organizational structure." He calls this new book an updated, redesigned, and rewritten next-generation version of Corporate Tides. He explains that organizational structure may impede organizational learning, that achievement in one part of an organization may not be replicated because of organizational barriers. Moreover, he shows that success in one department of an organization may actually lead to difficulties or problems in another; Fritz calls this phenomenon structural oscillation. He explains the key principles of structural tension and structural conflict. He also provides examples that demonstrate why best efforts do not always result in success and suggests ways to redesign organizations so that they can succeed. --David Rouse

Table of Contents

Foreword by Peter Sengep. ix
Acknowledgmentp. xv
Prologuep. 1
Part 1 The Path to Advancementp. 11
Chapter 1 An Organization's Structure: The Path to Success or Failurep. 13
A Little Lesson in Structurep. 22
Chapter 2 Structural Tension: The Secret of Your Successp. 27
A Little Lesson in Reality. Seeing What's Really Therep. 34
Chapter 3 Structural Tension Charting: The Key to Organizational Designp. 43
A Little Lesson in Learningp. 55
Chapter 4 Telescoping: Creating Organizational Counterpointp. 59
Divide and Thinkp. 75
Chapter 5 Checklists: Refining the Chartp. 79
Part 2 The Path of Oscillationp. 89
Chapter 6 Structural Conflict: Why Organizations Oscillatep. 91
Chapter 7 The Problem with Problem Solvingp. 105
Chapter 8 Structural Conflicts of the Rich and Famousp. 115
Chapter 9 How to Address Structural Conflicts: The Key to Structural Redesignp. 135
Part 3 Elements of Design: Moving from the Rocking Chair to a Ferrarip. 147
Chapter 10 Purpose: What Unifies the Organizationp. 149
Chapter 11 Business Strategy: The Path of Least Resistance to Our Purposep. 157
Chapter 12 Frames: The Best Way to See Realityp. 175
Chapter 13 Discovering Our True Visionp. 183
Chapter 14 The Power of Shared Structural Tensionp. 199
Chapter 15 Organizational Greatness: Building on Structural Tensionp. 207
Epiloguep. 217
Appendix Some Afterthoughts and Add-on Pointsp. 219
Indexp. 225
About the Authorp. 233