The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth (Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2007/10/11
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Business firms around the world are experimenting with new organizational designs, changing their formal architectures, their routines and processes, and their corporate cultures as they seek to improve their current performance and their growth prospects. In the process they are changing the scope of their business operations, redrawing their organization charts, redefining the allocation of decision-making authority and responsibility, revamping the mechanisms for motivating and rewarding people, reconsidering which activities to conduct in-house and which to out-source, redesigning their information systems, and seeking to alter the shared beliefs, values and norms that their people hold.
In this book, John Roberts argues that there are predictable, necessary relationships among these changes that will improve performance and growth. The organizations that are successful will establish patterns of fit among the elements of their organizational designs, their competitive strategies and the external environment in which they operate and will go about this in a holistic manner.
The Modern Firm develops powerful conceptual frameworks for analyzing the interrelations between organizational design features, competitive strategy and the business environment. Written in a non-technical language, the book is nevertheless based on rigorous modeling and draws on numerous examples from eighteenth century fur trading companies to such modern firms such as BP and Nokia. Finally the book explores why these developments are happening now, pointing to the increase in global competition and changes in technology.
Written by one of the world's leading economists and experts on business strategy and organization, The Modern Firm provides new insights into the changes going on in business today and will be of interest to academics, students and managers alike.
I am aware of no book that does a better job of integrating rigorous economic reasoning with a rich understanding of how firms operate. Economists, sociologists, organization and strategy scholars, as well as practicing managers, can all learn from the insights on strategy and organization contained in this very fine book. (Joel Podolny, Dean of Yale School of Management)
This book shows how recent ideas from economics can help us understand and improve the interplay between a firm's strategy and organization. It is a book for people looking for a deeper understanding of the modern firm - and enjoying the experience. As one of the world's foremost experts on economics and management, Roberts writes in an engaging style that makes the new ideas readily accessible to a wider business audience. (Bengt Holmström, Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics, MIT)
There are plenty of books on management and leadership that explain what leading firms do. This one explains why. The penetrating insights in The Modern Firm can profitably be applied to a wide variety of strategy and organization problems. Roberts, an economist of the first rank, offers us a practical, readable discussion, without mathematical notation. The Modern Firm should be required reading for corporate leaders and their advisers. (Jonathan Day, Partner, McKinsey & Company)
...it is interesting, which isn't something you can say about many business books. (The Times)
...best business book of the year...deserves to be a classic... Nobody, it can now be said, is fully fit to run a modern firm until they have read The Modern Firm. (The Economist)
Even though he was trained as a classical economist, he seems to have shed some of the baggage that the neoclassical paradigm imposes. That is important to the relevance of his ideas in this age of the resource-based view of the firm (see the collected readings edited by Nicolai J. Foss), the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation (Schumpeterian/Austrian economics), and evolutionary economics (An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change by Richard Nelson and Sid Winter, 1982).
In contrast to the traditional notion that firms within an industry are homogeneous and compete only on price, a stream of empirical research going back to 1991 (Richard P. Rumelt in Strategic Management Journal) has found that rates of return vary more within industries than across them. That makes the case for heterogeneity, not homogeneity. It also speaks to the importance of differentiation among firms. Most important, it opens up the discussion to such vital topics as a firm's unique capabilities, its routines, its culture, and its architecture, all of which Dean Roberts addresses in this remarkable book.
His perspective is not the final one, of course. What we know about that miraculous black box called the firm continues to evolve. But Dean Roberts has made a stunning contribution to what we know. In our own work valuing private equity, we use key precepts of this book every day. I recommend The Modern Firm without hesitation or qualification.
I have the habit of marking my books in two ways. First; I highlight passages to make important concepts easier to find again. Second; I mark my books with tags so that the most important of these can be accessed rapidly without having to page through the volume. The exercise of thinking about the choices I shall make for highlighting and tagging is a way of helping to consolidate the material in my memory; and - ironically - this exercise at times makes the highlighting and tagging redundant.
Now, what am I to do when the book is so rich in material, when it is comprised of such fertile intellectual soil, when so pregnant with insights and meaning, that almost every paragraph needs to be highlighted, and every second page tagged? Of course, I lower the threshold for highlighting and tagging. And, to ensure that much rich material is not forgotten for its quantity, or buried for its density, I read this book a second time.
Only one negative note: Roberts is given to outlandish Americanisms. Anyone sensitive to good English usage will find it difficult to prevent the occasional grammatical shocks from spoiling their reading pleasure. For example; "Absent efficient Coasian bargaining or complete contracting, coordinating across business to handle the externalities will require cooperation in the sense used in Chapter 3..." What he means is: "In the absence of efficient Coasian bargaining..." 'Absent' is not a prepositional phrase. It is an adjective. What a pity it is that the copy editors of the Oxford University Press didn't repair these mistakes. They give rise, however, to aesthetic problems for the most part. Once the reader becomes aware of Robert's idiosyncratic linguistic lapses, his meaning becomes clear.
For its content, the book is strongly recommended.
at places this book is hard to digest, i wonder if those at the Economist are already academics conversant with the subject, if real managers are to choose, i doubt if they would pick this as book of the year