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The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gilda

    I am constantly searching for good books about organizational development, particularly for social movement organizations, of which there are .....well, so far, I haven't found any. So that leads me to the business management section which has millions of offerings, mostly fads, idea or guy du jour, and which can be boiled down into a paragraph or two. This book is a good one for people who are interested in a thoughtful analysis of possible organization structures and good questions to ask your I am constantly searching for good books about organizational development, particularly for social movement organizations, of which there are .....well, so far, I haven't found any. So that leads me to the business management section which has millions of offerings, mostly fads, idea or guy du jour, and which can be boiled down into a paragraph or two. This book is a good one for people who are interested in a thoughtful analysis of possible organization structures and good questions to ask yourself when deliberating when centralizing or decentralizing makes sense, when hierarchy works, and how the communication needs of more horizontal organizations can be tackled.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori Grant

    An optional-read book for knowledge workers and entrepreneurs on concepts and trends regarding visions of the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    A mandatory collection of concepts to structure a truly modern organization: Project-driven teams and digital-enabled workflows.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tommy

    I thought this book was just excellent. I don't think there were any radical new ideas in the book necessarily but the organization and explanations were amazing. It really compiled and made sense of a lot of information and took a lot of implicit knowledge and made it explicit. As a math guy I can compare it to Euclid and his book Elements Of Geometry: Containing The First Six Books Of Euclid. Like it, this book has some new insights sprinkled with a whole new framework of thinking of the topic I thought this book was just excellent. I don't think there were any radical new ideas in the book necessarily but the organization and explanations were amazing. It really compiled and made sense of a lot of information and took a lot of implicit knowledge and made it explicit. As a math guy I can compare it to Euclid and his book Elements Of Geometry: Containing The First Six Books Of Euclid. Like it, this book has some new insights sprinkled with a whole new framework of thinking of the topic. The basic premise of the book is that organizations (not just companies) have been largely decentralized throughout history and that lowering communication costs will lead businesses to decentralize more in the future. Tom Malone then goes on to catalog the different degrees of decentralizations, different ways to decentralize, and when each one is useful. This is the core part of the book. It is packed with examples of where these things are happening now and where they might happen in the future. The treatment is incredibly complete and thorough. I'm not going to go into all the detail except to say that this book is a must read for any organization looking to lead the way into the future and innovate in new styles of leadership, management and organization

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Redwood

    Written 10 years ago this would have seemed more prescient than it does reading it in 2014. The early sections on centralization versus decentralization, flexible versus directive decision structures, applying those principles to internal versus outsourced or "e-Lance" labor, and thinking through the implications for flexible workforce organization and portfolio careers, set up some good ways to organize ones thinking on the topics. It is, perhaps, more grounded and less creative in thinking abo Written 10 years ago this would have seemed more prescient than it does reading it in 2014. The early sections on centralization versus decentralization, flexible versus directive decision structures, applying those principles to internal versus outsourced or "e-Lance" labor, and thinking through the implications for flexible workforce organization and portfolio careers, set up some good ways to organize ones thinking on the topics. It is, perhaps, more grounded and less creative in thinking about this topic than, say, Charles Handy, but practical and useful nevertheless. The book runs out of steam a bit when he gets onto the topics of leadership, culture and communications. It's all worthy stuff and important, for sure, but the latter chapters feel a bit like padding and don't really say anything new. Useful and practical with many good examples of what real companies are doing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I would love an update on this, just to see how some of the predictions and ideas have been impacted by the 2.0 movement. I was really game on the book until the last couple of chapters when Malone gets just a little too politically left for me to handle.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The future of work is about outsourcing and colaboration. The way a movie is made through contractors and many companies working together to build something great is how companies in the future are going to work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leo Boulton

    Got this book in a Web 2.0 and Collaboration Summit and Conference. Looking forward to it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Erickson

    A must read to understand how our work world is changing -- and why.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristian Norling

    A good read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frank Thun

    one might say: ok, what bnow?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Francisco Castellanos

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick R Harnett

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Behr

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Anderson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Parker Boyes

  17. 4 out of 5

    John

  18. 5 out of 5

    Phil Gardner

  19. 4 out of 5

    Harry Jordan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ilya Mrz

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hugo

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob Schatz

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ron Urwongse

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Heiss

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jurgen Appelo

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aishah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

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