Knowledge, Organization, and Management: Building on the Work of Max Boisot


Max Boisot was one of the most original thinkers in management and organization studies. An independent scholar with an independent, enquiring, and innovative mind, his work ranged over a number of different areas from early attempts to understand contemporary developments in China to the role of information in organizations, and later the management of Big Science.

Yet, as this book shows, there was a central strand that ran through these apparently diverse areas, which was the...

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Max Boisot was one of the most original thinkers in management and organization studies. An independent scholar with an independent, enquiring, and innovative mind, his work ranged over a number of different areas from early attempts to understand contemporary developments in China to the role of information in organizations, and later the management of Big Science.

Yet, as this book shows, there was a central strand that ran through these apparently diverse areas, which was the attempt to understand the relationship between knowledge and information, and its organization — in firms, organizations, and societies — by means of the model Boisot developed, the 'I-Space'. Knowledge, Organization, and Management brings together key examples of Max Boisot's work into a single volume, setting these alongside original, extended commentaries and reflections by his academic collaborators. Structured under five core sections, it covers the main areas in which he forged new understandings: analyses of the Chinese system; organizational complexity; the strategic management of knowledge; knowledge in Big Science; and innovations in education. A further section includes six reflective essays by Boisot's collaborators.

The book will be invaluable to organization and management scholars, students, and intellectually curious practitioners.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Max Boisot was a deep thinker whose interest in knowledge enabled him to make important contributions to many areas: Chinese economic development, strategic management, innovation, and the organization of advanced science, to name but a few. In this volume, Child and Ihrig bring together Boisot's pathbreaking articles, and combine them with thoughtful appreciations by those who knew him best. The result is a worthy tribute to Boisot's legacy, and a wonderful way to introduce his thinking to a new generation of scholars."—Henry Chesbrough, Faculty Director, Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and Esade Business School, Ramon Llul University

"Max Boisot's lucid explanations of the workings of the knowledge economy profoundly changed my perspective on strategy. He was years ahead of most of us in explaining why periods of maximum value are so fragile and why we need an entirely new logic for business—one that emphasizes sharing and speed—if our organizations are to be successful. In the knowledge economy, hoping to hide behind entry barriers is futile. As this excellent book demonstrates, Max showed us all an alternative."—Rita Gunther McGrath, Associate Professor, Columbia Business School

"Max Boisot's key message has lost none of its topicality and importance: the form and communication of knowledge lie at the heart of human social organization. This book provides an excellent discussion of the challenges and opportunities involved—be it cultural and institutional differences of systems or the complexity of today's (organizational) world. As Boisot's work applies to people, organizations, and society as a whole, his work inspires a deep reflection and encourages further inquiry into many significant issues."—Prof. Gilbert Probst, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

"Boisot's deep insights are brilliantly unpacked and situated, both socially and epistemologically, in this superb collection. Given that nearly every economy is now being disrupted, his I-Space adds timely insights to how to move beyond simplistic analyses to ones that honor the embedded nature of the tacit."—John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corp and Director of Xerox PARC, and co-author of The Social Life of Information (2000), The Power of Pull (2010), and A New Culture of Learning (2011)

"For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Max, he was one of the most creative and original of people. He had an extraordinary ability to understand how things were actually working and to create an image of how they could be changed. He not only had a powerful imagination but also was deeply grounded in pragmatism. This book is a splendid tribute to a remarkable man. A real visionary."—Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics & Government at the LSE, President of the British Academy, and ex-Chief Economist of the World Bank.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199669165
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/24/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 557,659
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Child is Emeritus Professor of Commerce at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business, and the British Academy of Management. In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the prestigious British Academy [FBA]. He has published 21 books and approximately 150 articles and book chapters. He has been editor-in-chief of Organization Studies and Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review. His current interests are in organizational design and how smaller firms internationalize.

Martin Ihrig is President of I-Space Institute, LLC (USA) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (USA). He is interested in the strategic and entrepreneurial management of knowledge and heads a research initiative that explores this topic at Wharton's Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center. In developing strategy tools for corporate and public-sector decision makers, he has worked with organizations such as BAE Systems (USA), The Boeing Company (USA), and Vale (Brazil). His research projects have been funded by The Economic & Social Research Council (UK), The ATLAS Collaboration at CERN (CH), and Tekes (Finland).

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Table of Contents

I. Setting the stage
1. Max Boisot and the Dynamic Evolution of Knowledge, Martin Ihrig and John Child
II. Analyses of the Chinese System
2. From Fiefs to Clans and Network Capitalism: Explaining China's Emerging Economic Order, Max Boisot and John Child
3. Analysis of the Chinese System, John Child
III. Organizational Complexity
4. Extreme Outcomes, Connectivity, and Power Laws: Towards an Econophysics of Organization, Max Boisot and Bill McKelvey
5. Reflecting on Max Boisot s Ashby Space Applied to Complexity Management, Bill McKelvey
IV.NBThe Strategic Management of Knowledge
6. The Creation and Sharing of Knowledge, Max Boisot
7. The Strategic Management of Knowledge, Martin Ihrig and Ian MacMillan
V.NBKnowledge in Big Science
8. Generating Knowledge in a Connected World: The Case of the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, Max Boisot
9. Knowledge in Big Science, Agusti Canals
VI.NBInnovations in Education
10. Chinese Boxes and Learning Cubes: Action Learning in a Cross Cultural Context, Max Boisot and Michel Fiol
11. Innovations in Education, Dana Kaminstein and John Child
VII. Concluding Reflections
12. The I-Space as a Key to History and to Culture, Gordon Redding
13. The Three Phases of Max s Theorizing, JC Spender
14. Writing with Max Boisot, Marshall Meyer
15. Remembering Max Boisot: Recollections of a Gifted Intellect at Work, Ron Sanchez
16. I-Space and the Value of Basic Research, Markus Nordberg
17. Boisot and the God Particle, Marzio Nessi
18. Conclusion and Outlook, John Child and Martin Ihrig

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