The Character of Organizations: Using Personality Type in Organization Development, Updated Edition / Edition 2

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An enormous consulting industry has sprung up promising to help organizations overhaul themselves to meet today's competitive pressures. Yet far too often, such change efforts fail. The solution, according to best-selling management author William Bridges, lies in identifying, understanding and working with what he calls organizational character. Just as people have personalities, Bridges explains, organizations - as well as their departments and teams - have characters. An organization's character shapes how decisions get made and new ideas are received, how employees are treated and change is accepted or rejected - all factors that affect company performance. Using examples from McDonald's, Hewlett-Packard, GE and other companies, Bridges identifies 16 organizational character types using the framework of MBTI© personality types and shows how these influence an organization's growth and development. With a foreword by Sandra Krebs Hirsh and a new preface by the author, this updated edition of the time-tested classic includes the Organizational Character Index, Bridges' popular tool for assessing the character of your own organization or team.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
The Character Of Organizations identifies sixteen types of organizational character using the framework of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument and clarifies what people actually experience on the job. Utilizing "real world" corporate examples, William Bridges shows that an organization's character shapes how decisions are made and new ideas are received, how employees are treated and how change is accepted or rejected, and how such things affect company performance. Written in a lively, contemporary, and completely accessible style, and in a new edition enhanced with a foreword by Sandra Krebs Hirsh and a new preface by the author, The Character Of Organizations is highly recommended reading for anyone seeking to transform their own business to take advantage of their strengths and become aware of their weaknesses with which ever corporate character style they are employing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891061496
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Edition description: Updated Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 483,865
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.11 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Read an Excerpt

ORGANIZATIONAL CHARACTER AND WHERE IT COMES FROM The Concept of Character Everyone knows that organizations differ in their size, structure, and purpose, but they also differ in character. A play-it-safe, old-line manufacturing company has a very different character from a new start-up software company. They differ in the same way that two individuals do. And the character of both the manufacturing company and the software company differs from that of a state university, a community hospital, or an architectural firm. An organization's character is like the grain in a piece of wood. There is no such thing as good or bad grain, but some kinds of grain can take great pressure, other kinds can withstand bending or shearing forces, and still others are lovely and take a fine polish. Some are too soft or hard, too light or heavy for a particular purpose, but each has some purpose for which it is well fitted. There are other metaphors: Character is the typical climate of the organizational country; it is the personality of the individual organization; it is the DNA of the organizational life form. It is the organization's character that makes it feel and act like itself. Organizational character varies greatly and subtly. In one sense, there are as many characters as there are organizations. But those infinitely varied differences can be profitably grouped into sixteen basic categories.1 This system parallels the sixteen basic personality types developed from the work of the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung by Americans Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. This mother-daughter team created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(r) (MBTI(r)) instrument to identify an individual's personality type. As with personality type, organizational character can be established with a fair degree of objectivity. The Organizational Character Index , or OCI, which appears in Appendix A, does for organizations what Briggs and Myers did for individuals, although as a new instrument it has not yet been statistically validated. The OCI is an experimental tool meant to be used by people who work with and in organizations-people who are looking for useful tools and willing to test and improve them as they use them. The OCI is not an adaptation of the MBTI instrument, but it is based on the same four pairs of opposing tendencies that Myers and Briggs adapted from Carl Jung's work. As adapted from the individual realm to the organizational, those dichotomies are the following: ? Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)-the organization's orientation, the location of its reality, and the source of its energy. Is the organization primarily outwardly oriented toward markets, competition, and regulations (Extraverted), or is it inwardly oriented toward its own technology, its leaders' dreams, or its own culture (Introverted)?2 ? Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)-how it gathers information, what it pays attention to, how it perceives. Is the organization primarily focused on the present, the details, and the actuality of situations (Sensing) or on the future, the big picture, and the possibilities inherent in situations (Intuition)? ? Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)-its way of processing information, its manner of judging situations, its way of making decisions. Does the organization do these things by an impersonal process so that decision making happens on the basis of such principles as con- sistency, competence, and efficiency (Thinking), or through a personal process that depends on values such as individuality, the common good, or creativity (Feeling)? ? Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)-does the organization tend to deal with its external world through one of the Judging functions (Thinking or Feeling) or through one of the Perceiving func- tions (Sensing or Intuition)? Organizations in which Judging predominates prefer to reach firm decisions, define things clearly, and get closure on issues. Organizations in which Perceiving predominates are always seeking more input, preferring to leave things loose, or opting to keep their choices open.
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Table of Contents

Contents Foreword vii Preface xi About the Author xvii Chapter One Organizational Character and Where It Comes From 1 Chapter Two Identifying Organizational Character 13 Chapter Three The Sixteen Types of Organizational Character 33 Chapter Four Character, Growth, and Change 69 Chapter Five Character and Organization Development 89 Chapter Six Organizational Character and Individual Type 109 Chapter Seven Character and Destiny 125 Appendix A The Organizational Character Index 129 Appendix B Bibliographical Notes 137 Appendix C Character and Culture 139 Notes 141 Index 147
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2003

    Good Character Foundation...!

    Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is very much accepted as a fine approach to organizational culture maintenance. Putting this indicator into practice over a period of time is an answer to many organization's delemmas. I recommend this reading to all who have need a for further understanding of the subject and its application.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    Well, I wondered why..

    William Bridges did a great work in assisting anyone with the nerve to ask, 'what type of organization are we in?' He so clearly identified ours and the potential outcome that its chilling. Because I'm not in a position to change the overall character of our organization, I can only watch for the signs that we are proceeding in to see how they match up with his book. And they match up. Unless we have a radical change in top leadership, we may be unable to reverse the direction that our organization is headed. Great book!

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