Existential-Systems Approach To Managing Organizations

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At a time of corporate downsizing and bone-crushing international competition, how can executives reconcile their individual personalities and human needs with the equally compelling needs of the hard-driving organization? It is an existential dilemma, say Joe and Louise Kelly, and one with critical implications, not only for executives but for their organizations as well. The Kellys, by no means blithe theorists, take a hard look at this hard-edged problem by positing a three-pronged model for analysis based upon structure, process, and values. They synthesize these elements under an overarching concept of existentialism, in which the emphasis is on a search for meaning. And with that, they provide a clear-headed look at organizational behavior—its contributions to our understanding of how organizations work but, also its failures and, indeed, its frequent self-deceptions. A well-written, vigorous, far-ranging examination, not only for executives who need the kind of help the Kellys offer in their daily combats on the job, but also for their colleagues in the academic community who have their own organizational problems to deal with.

The Kellys make clear that their book reflects a movement away from the academic-purist position, where the sole concern is with theoretically significant research, to a position which recognizes that organizational behavior is a crossroads subject where traffic [that comes] mainly from behavioral science, computer technology, and economics coalesces with the ideas streaming out of organizational practice. Aimed at professional managers and students, both undergraduates as well as those on the M.B.A. level, this book assumes little prior knowledge of behavioral science or organizational theory. Readers will get what they need of those subjects here, enough to follow Kelly's argument. They will see how behavioral and organizational research has helped (but sometimes hindered) executives as they attempt to deal with critical happenings in their jobs. With case study material woven into the text and with observations from his own experiences with business as well as academic organizations, the Kellys' book is a readable, engrossing argument for and against the orthodoxies of organizational behavior studies—and the assurance that whatever else it may or not be, organizational behavior is certainly not static.

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Editorial Reviews

This text is directed towards professional managers and students of management and assumes little prior knowledge of behavioral science or of organizations. It deals with some of the executive's problems, including recruitment, selection, socialization, development, education and training, conflicts and capacity for stress. Integrated into the book are four subthemes: globalization, cultural diversity, technology, and ethics. Each chapter includes a section which summarizes an important contemporary research study to demonstrate the significance of organizational behavior. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567200355
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/1998
  • Pages: 294
  • Lexile: 1290L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

JOE KELLY is retired Professor of Management, Concordia University, Montreal, and a consultant specializing in restructuring organizations, structured sensitivity training, and executive development.

LOUISE KELLY is an assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Northeastern University, Boston.

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Table of Contents

I Introduction 1
1 Managing Organizations: An Existential-Systems Approach 3
2 Existential-Systems Theory 18
II People Moving through Organizations 31
3 Personality 33
4 Predictable Crises of Executive Life 49
5 The Executive Personality: Female and Male 66
6 Motivation 79
7 Stress and the Executive 91
8 The Cassandra Complex 99
III Group Dynamics and Leading 113
9 The Psychic Bubble of Group Dynamics 115
10 Communications 128
11 More Effective Leadership Styles 139
IV The Organization: Its Political Economy 153
12 Organizational Politics: Authority versus Power 155
13 The Conspiracy Theory 170
V The Organization: Decision, Conflict, and Development 183
14 Organizational Decision Making 185
15 Conflict in Organizations 199
VI Existentialism in Action 213
16 Existential Strategy 215
17 Managing by Zen 228
18 The CEO Super Guru: The Computer Organization and the YUMMIC 241
Bibliography 263
Name Index 273
Subject Index 275
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