Cover image for The future of work : how the new order of business will shape your organization, your management style, and your life
The future of work : how the new order of business will shape your organization, your management style, and your life
Malone, Thomas W.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 225 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
A time to choose -- An amazing pattern -- The amazing pattern in business -- Loosening the hierarchy -- Harnessing democracy -- Unleashing markets -- Bringing markets inside -- When should you decentralize? -- Coordinating activities -- Cultivating people -- Putting human values at the center of business.
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HD31 .M2867 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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For more than a decade, business thinkers have theorized about how technology will change the shape of organizations. In this landmark book, renowned organizational theorist Thomas Malone, codirector of MIT's "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century" initiative, provides the first credible model for actually designing the company of the future. Based on 20 years of groundbreaking research, The Future of Work foresees a workplace revolution that will dramatically change organizational structures and the roles employees play in them. Technological and economic forces make "command and control" management increasingly less useful. In its place will be a more flexible "coordinate and cultivate" approach that will spawn new types of decentralized organizations--from internal markets to democracies to loose hierarchies. These future structures will reap the scale and knowledge efficiencies of large organizations while enabling the freedom, flexibility, and human values that drive smaller firms. This book explores the skills managers will need in a workplace in which the power to decide belongs to everyone.

Author Notes

Thomas W. Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the founder and director of the MIT Center for Coordination Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Malone (Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management, MIT) asserts that the cost of communications has been going down since the invention of printing-a trend that has enabled people to band together in widely dispersed organizations and follow central command to gain economies of scale and create wealth. As Malone tells it, this advantage was first taken by governments and religious institutions, followed by commercial enterprises. He argues that decentralizing decisionmaking is the next logical step, citing many examples of businesses that are ahead of their time and a series of statistics showing that businesses are becoming smaller (and decentralized) and even big businesses are dividing into many subunits. This debut work presents new ideas at a strategic level about the shape of organizations to come; the many brief and inspiring case studies will lead serious readers to conduct more research. Malone was codirector of MIT's five-year research initiative, Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century. Suitable for business school libraries, as well as general collections with a sizable section on business trends and management theory.-Stephen E. Turner, Turner & Assocs., San Francisco (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Malone (MIT Sloan School of Management) imagines new ways of organizing work based on an extensive literature review and case studies. He notes that the rapid reduction in the cost of communication via new information technologies has allowed more companies to be efficient yet decentralized to allow for personal freedom. Centralized "command-and-control" organizations characterized by the traditional military may no longer be appropriate for companies. Malone recommends more democratic and decentralized organizations to "coordinate and cultivate" employees to unleash market forces. Some examples come from Google, eBay, Linux, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, and Visa International. Malone also provides a framework to help managers decide when to decentralize. Even large corporations can decentralize by incorporating e-mail and the Internet, encouraging creativity, and distributing leadership. Using several tables, the author describes the designs, advantages, and disadvantages of centralized hierarchies such as the traditional military; loose hierarchies such as consulting firms and research universities; democracies such as corporate shareholder meetings; and market-based operations such as the Internet. Similar philosophies can be found in Y. Jayachandra and Gita Melkote's Future Prospect: Envisioning E-Business in 2020 (CH, Nov'03). ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Academic libraries, upper-division undergraduate and above; corporate collections. G. E. Kaupins Boise State University

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Coming Revolution
Chapter 1 A Time to Choose
Chapter 2 An Amazing Pattern
Chapter 3 The Amazing Pattern in Business
Part 2 How Many People can Fit at the Center of an Organization?
Chapter 4 Loosening the Hierarchy
Chapter 5 Harnessing Democracy
Chapter 6 Unleashing Markets
Chapter 7 Bringing Markets Inside
Chapter 8 When Should You Decentralize?
Part 3 From "Command and Control" to "Coordinate and Cultivate"
Chapter 9 Coordinating Activities
Chapter 10 Cultivating People
Chapter 11 Putting Human Values at the Center of Business
Appendix How Do Communication Costs Affect Centralization? A Simple Model