In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work

In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work

by Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak
     
 

Knowledge has always resided in organizations-but it wasn't until the Information Age put a premium on ideas that intellectual capital was recognized as a critical resource. Now, forces like technology, globalization, and the rise of free agency and virtual workplaces are bringing another form of "hidden" capital to the forefront.

In Good Company is the

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Overview

Knowledge has always resided in organizations-but it wasn't until the Information Age put a premium on ideas that intellectual capital was recognized as a critical resource. Now, forces like technology, globalization, and the rise of free agency and virtual workplaces are bringing another form of "hidden" capital to the forefront.

In Good Company is the first book to examine the role that social capital-a company's "stock" of human connections such as trust, personal networks, and a sense of community-plays in thriving organizations. Written by leading knowledge management experts Don Cohen and Laurence Prusak, this groundbreaking book argues that social capital is so integral to business life that without it, cooperative action-and consequently productive work-isn't possible. The authors help today's leaders understand the nature and value of social capital, suggest ways they can encourage and enhance it, and explore how they can protect this vital but increasingly vulnerable resource in a volatile, virtual world.

Drawing on major social and economic theories, and the experiences of organizations including the World Bank, Aventis Pharma, Alcoa, Russell Reynolds, and UPS, In Good Company identifies the social elements that contribute to knowledge sharing, innovation, and high productivity. The authors convincingly show how almost every managerial decision-from hiring, firing, and promotion to implementing new technologies to designing office space-is an opportunity for social capital investment or loss. They also reveal the benefits that derive from investments in social capital, such as greater commitment and cooperation, increased talent retention, andmore intelligent responses to customer needs.

A landmark book on the critical role that relationships play in organizational success, In Good Company helps employees at all levels recognize the power of social capital to help people work better, and make organizations better places to work.

"We've known that social capital makes the world go around, but until In Good Company we've never been able to do much about it. Cohen and Prusak provide great examples, frameworks, and perspectives for actually improving the state of social capital in your firm."
—Thomas H. Davenport, Director, Accenture Institute for Strategic Change, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Babson College

"A wonderful survey of the invisible social resources that enable firms to be high performers, yet offer a meaningful environment for their employees. In Good Company should be mandatory reading for anyone wanting to understand how to balance the virtual workscape (telecommuting) with the office workscape."
—John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist of Xerox, and Coauthor of Social Life of Information

"Cohen and Prusak have written an eloquent book that shows how great companies create a quality of life at work that supports the exchange and creation of new knowledge. It is a message that should be heard not only by executives and stock analysts, but also by educators and students at business schools."
—Bruce Kogut, Felix Zandman Professor of International Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Author Biography: Don Cohen is a writer, consultant, and the editor of Knowledge Directions. Laurence Prusak is Executive Director of the IBM Institute for Knowledge Management and co-author of Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
The book's novelty and appeal lie in the . . . attention to the power of commonplace conversations. . .
Booknews
Examining the role of social capital<-->trust, personal connections, a sense of community, and the like<-->in modern business, this book also explores the means of developing and protecting it. Applying social and economic theory to the experiences of organizations like the World Bank, Aventis Pharma, Alcoa, Russell Reynolds, and UPS, Cohen (a consultant) and Prusak (IBM Institute for Knowledge Management) describe the crucial role of relationships in organizations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875849133
Publisher:
Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.43(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.87(d)

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