The Democratic Corporation: A Radical Prescription for Recreating Corporate America and Rediscovering Success by Russell L. Ackoff

The Democratic Corporation: A Radical Prescription for Recreating Corporate America and…

byRussell L. Ackoff

Hardcover | June 1, 1994

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We all know that American business needs fixing, and there is no shortage of prescriptions: imitate the Japanese, or follow the example of successful firms, or practice right-sizing. But these approaches do not work very well, says Russell Ackoff, because they only attack the problempiecemeal--and it is the entire system of American business that is flawed. In this revolutionary new book by a widely respected business thinker and pioneer in the fields of operations research and systems thinking, Ackoff underscores the urgent need to overhaul the kinds of systems found inAmerica, from our business schools to our boardrooms. And he shows how firms can break out of the mold--and leapfrog the competition in today's volatile economy. To give managers insight into the concept of organizations, Ackoff shows how they have been viewed since the Renaissance: first as machines, later as organisms, and today as social systems. As social systems, companies produce and distribute wealth and raise our standard of living. They are alsoresponsible for facilitating and encouraging the development of the larger systems that contain them and all their stakeholders. The quality of worklife within an organization is key. Work has to be challenging and enjoyable if workers are to give it their full commitment, and Ackoff outlines majorways to achieve this goal. Along the way, Ackoff explodes a number of fashionable business notions. He asserts that firms that try to imitate successful competitors are doomed to play catch-up forever. He attacks the idea of continuous improvement, showing that it has failed to make quantum leaps inquality, and he demonstrates how to re-orient the pursuit of quality. After revealing the weakness in many current practices, Ackoff describes three organizational schemes that will lead to success. In the Circular Organization, a democratic hierarchy, everyone participates directly or indirectly indecisions that affect their work. In the Internal Market Economy, organizations treat their different parts like a collection of firms doing business with each other--which promotes cooperation and eliminates wasteful internal competition. And with the Multidimensional Organization, a companybecomes so powerful and flexible that continuous adaptation can happen without reorganization. Ackoff caps off the book with an incisive critique of business schools, describing how they must be transformed to turn out the leaders we need for the competitive American organization of the 21st century. Enabling managers to understand the profound interrelationships in the American economy andto tap into them for success, The Democratic Corporation is a major work by an innovative thinker that is certain to cause ripples throughout the business community.

About The Author

Russell L. Ackoff is Chairman of Interact, the Institute for Interactive Management, and Professor Emeritus of the Wharton School. He has written nineteen books.
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Details & Specs

Title:The Democratic Corporation: A Radical Prescription for Recreating Corporate America and…Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.54 × 5.75 × 0.98 inPublished:June 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195087275

ISBN - 13:9780195087277

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From Our Editors

A widely respected business thinker and pioneer in the fields of operations research and systems thinking offers a radical new approach to revitalize the American corporation. Ackoff explodes a number of fashionable business notions and introduces new organizational structures that can give a competitive edge. He cites examples from prominent companies such as General Motors, IBM, Kodak, Alcoa, Dupont, and others

Editorial Reviews

"One of the world's most innovative and insightful organizational thinkers, Russell Ackoff provides us with the template for the twenty-first century corporation. The Democratic Corporation cuts through all the rhetoric and hype about emerging organizational forms and provides a veryhard-nosed, systematic way to guide us into the future, including how to develop the next generation of business leaders. This is a must read for business leaders and for academics."--Noel M. Tichy, Director, Global Leadership Program, The University of Michigan