The Human Cost Of A Management Failure

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This book presents a unique, in-depth examination of the effects that the popular approaches to management organizational change—downsizing, restructuring, and reengineering—had on a major American hospital. The Human Cost of a Management Failure shows what can happen when management insists on accomplishing its ends strictly by the numbers. The authors ask why top management so often, and with seemingly such a cavalier attitude, selects downsizing and similar methods when research indicates that they are all too often such poor choices. Based on a year-long longitudinal study, Allcorn, Baum, Diamond, and Stein report on their interviews with 23 senior and mid-level hospital administrators, then interpret their findings from a psychoanalytic perspective, to make clear that the human side of the workplace can only be ignored at great risk when change is contemplated and then implemented. This is essential reading not only for corporate management, but also for other professionals and academics throughout the social and behavioral sciences.

Readers of The Human Cost of a Management Failure are oriented to the literature on downsizing, restructuring and reengineering, and to the context of the study. Case material follows, enabling readers to draw their own conclusions with regard to the nature of the organizational change and its effects upon the hospital's employees, and consultants offer their own viewpoints. An update of events at the hospital after the study was conducted is provided along with summaries by each author of his own interpretation and how he interprets the others' views. In this way, readers will get an unusual opportunity to evaluate their own viewpoints against those of the psychoanalytically trained researchers, and to decide for themselves whether there are, in fact, better ways to make an organization economically competitive in the marketplace.

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Editorial Reviews

The authors question the effectiveness of downsizing and restructuring, using a large American hospital as an example. Over the course of a year-long longitudinal study at General Hospital, several lessons become apparent in terms of how leaders ineffectively make decisions, and the devastating results on staff. The information is presented by case studies with a summarizing conclusion, allowing the reader to draw conclusions and then test them against the authors' in a type of dialogue. The focus is on a psychoanalytic approach to the results of organizational restructuring, and seeks to avoid management jargon which dehumanizes the effect of policies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567200027
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/20/1996
  • Pages: 300
  • Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

SETH ALLCORN is a principal of DyAD, a consulting company that supports change in organizations.

HOWELL S. BAUM is a Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Maryland.

MICHAEL A. DIAMOND is a Professor in the Department of Public Administration, University of Missouri-Columbia.

HOWARD F. STEIN is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

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Table of Contents

1 Downsizing, Restructuring, and Reengineering: An Overview 3
2 Case Study Context, Development, and Analysis 7
3 The First Set of Interviews 21
4 Case Interpretations and Overview 45
5 The Second Set of Interviews 81
6 Case Interpretations and Overview 109
7 The Third Set of Interviews 151
8 Case Interpretations and Overview 177
9 Epilogue to the General Hospital Case 233
10 The Case in Perspective 241
References 269
Index 275
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