The Executives Compass: Business and the Good Society

Paperback | April 1, 1995

byJames OToole

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American society has become increasingly polarized by single- and special-interest groups: the Greens, who demand environmental purity; admirers of Japan who want a national industrial policy; supply-side economists who want government to all but disappear. This collision of values has turnedAmerica into a battleground of either/or tradeoffs: the community vs. the individual, the environment vs. jobs, the rights of each ethnic group vs. the needs of the nation for unity. Whose values should prevail? Those of Libertarians? Communitarians? Egalitarians? Corporatists? The nation'sleadership role in the post-communist world will be largely determined by how such conflicts in the political economy are resolved. Increasingly, business executives find themselves drawn into these values wars, forced to make decisions in a hothouse climate in which there are countless and conflicting opinions about what is right and wrong. Business leaders find themselves caught in the values thicket when they attempt toformulate corporate policy on such issues as plant closings, executive compensation, corporate governance, and affirmative action. In The Executive's Compass, James O'Toole guides business leaders through this minefield of modern dilemmas. In the words of ARCO's CEO, Lod Cook, "O'Toole providesbusiness leaders with a practical compass to help them navigate the turbulent waters of social change and political conflict." O'Toole explores the philosophical and historical underpinnings of contemporary business problems, tracing their origins to the ideas of such great thinkers as Aristotle, Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, and Jefferson. By going to the roots of modern issues, he is able to clarify the sources ofpolitical disagreement, and to suggest a practical course of action for corporate leaders who find themselves caught in the gridlock of democracy. He provides an innovative values compass--a tool he has honed for over forty years as a moderator of the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar--which hasbeen successfully applied at FORTUNE 500 firms as an introduction to the values-based management for which the Aspen Institute is renowned. The compass helps executives to understand what is wrong (and right) with our democratic system, and what the role of business is in creating The Good Society. For top executives, general managers, or anyone trying to make sense out of our rapidly changing world, The Executive's Compass helps managers deal more effectively with today's thorny issues.

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From Our Editors

The Executive's Compass offers a practical tool to deal more effectively with the thorny new issues that technical training leaves professionals ill-prepared to handle.

From the Publisher

American society has become increasingly polarized by single- and special-interest groups: the Greens, who demand environmental purity; admirers of Japan who want a national industrial policy; supply-side economists who want government to all but disappear. This collision of values has turnedAmerica into a battleground of either/or tr...

From the Jacket

The Executive's Compass offers a practical tool to deal more effectively with the thorny new issues that technical training leaves professionals ill-prepared to handle.

James O'Toole is Executive Director of the Leadership Institute. He holds the University Associates' Chair of Management at the USC Graduate School of Business. He has recently been Editor of New Management magazine and is author of ten books, including Vanguard Management, named by Business Week as one of the best business and econo...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 5.51 × 8.15 × 0.47 inPublished:April 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195096444

ISBN - 13:9780195096446

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From Our Editors

The Executive's Compass offers a practical tool to deal more effectively with the thorny new issues that technical training leaves professionals ill-prepared to handle.

Editorial Reviews

"What a wonderful book! Whose values? What justice? Which dream? How to choose? Why? Leaders who are seriously selective will read this book first. It demands careful reflection, an open mind and a tolerant heart. The exercise is pure joy, adult education at its best."--Max De Free, Chairman,Herman Miller, Inc.