Living Company

( 1 )

Overview


Most companies do not survive the upheavals of change and competition over the long haul. But there are a few remarkable firms that have withstood the test of several centuries. What hidden lessons do they hold for the rest of us? Arie de Geus, the man who introduced the revolutionary concept of the learning organization, reveals the key to managing for a long and prosperous organizational life. The Living Company speaks not just to aspiring leaders, but to anyone trying to adapt to a turbulent business ...
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Overview


Most companies do not survive the upheavals of change and competition over the long haul. But there are a few remarkable firms that have withstood the test of several centuries. What hidden lessons do they hold for the rest of us? Arie de Geus, the man who introduced the revolutionary concept of the learning organization, reveals the key to managing for a long and prosperous organizational life. The Living Company speaks not just to aspiring leaders, but to anyone trying to adapt to a turbulent business environment. Only those steeped in the habits of a living company will survive. 'This profound and uplifting book is for the leaders in all of us. Arie de Geus challenges most of the conventional wisdom in management thinking today' - Dr. James F. Moore, author of "The Death of Competition".'Arie de Geus gives leaders of the future an indispensable guidebook in which commitment to values, people, learning, and innovation defines the living company. It's in my book bag' - Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, The Drucker Foundation.

In The Living Company, the man who first introduced the revolutionary concept of the learning organization turns his attention to identifying the critical characteristics of organizational longevity. The book speaks to everyone trying to adapt to a turbulent business environment. 224 pp. 15,000 print.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
According to a study conducted by Royal Dutch Shell, where the author worked for 38 years, the average life expectancy of Fortune 500 firms is 40 to 50 years. Many such companies don't survive beyond a few years, while others have existed for over 200. Why? De Geus, widely credited with originating the concept of the learning organization, writes: "Companies die because their managers focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services, and they forget that their organizations' true nature is that of a community of humans." He summarizes the components of the long-lived company as sensitivity to the environment, cohesion and identity, tolerance and decentralization, and conservative financing. In this insightful study, he describes how today's managers and staff should strive to develop a living company and increase its life expectancy. An important work; recommended for academic libraries.Lucy T. Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Queens Village, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578518203
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 645,740
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author


Arie de Geus worked for Royal Dutch/Shell for thirty-eight years and is widely credited with originating the concept of the learning organization. Since his retirement, he has advised many government and private institutions and has lectured throughout the world.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Prologue: The Lifespan of a Company 1
1 The Shift from Capitalism to a Knowledge Society 15
2 The Memory of the Future 22
3 Tools for Foresight 38
4 Decision Making as a Learning Activity 55
5 Only Living Beings Learn 77
6 Managing for Profit or for Longevity: Is There a Choice? 100
7 Flocking 131
8 The Tolerant Company 142
9 The Corporate Immune System 159
10 Conservatism in Financing 171
11 Power: Nobody Should Have Too Much 187
Epilogue: The Company of the Future 199
Notes 203
Index 209
About the Author 215
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 12, 2010

    Highly Recommended!

    This is an exceptional book, discussing the attributes of companies that are successful and long-lived. It is more readable and accessible than "Built To Last" but never received the mainstream acclaim it deserved. DeGeus writes from the perspective of big business, as a retired VP level administrator in Royal Dutch Shell. His observations are applicable not just to big business but global, from small business, to non-profits, to academia. This is a "must read" for anyone wanting to get an informed perspective on business.

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