The Paradox of Control in Organizations

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Overview

Business leaders are expected to be 'in control' of the situation in which their businesses find themselves. But how can organizational leaders and managers control matters entirely out of their hands; such as the next action a competitor takes, or the next law a government may pass? In this book, Philip Streatfield reflects on his own experience as a manager to explore the question: who, or what is 'in control' in an organization?

Adopting the perspective of complex responsive processes developed in the first two volumes of this series, the author takes self-organization and emergence as central themes in thinking about life in organizations. He focuses on the tension between spontaneously forming patterns of conversation and intentional actions arguing that the order of organizations emerges through a combination of collective interaction and individual intentions. The argument is developed by considering the day-to-day experiences of life in a large pharmaceutical organization, SmithKline Beecham.

In today's organization, managers find that they have to live with the paradox of being 'in control' and 'not in control'simultaneously. It is this capacity to live with paradox, and to continue to participate creatively in spite of 'not being in control', that constitutes effective management.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Valuable insights from a practising manager who can reflect on his experience within a framework of academic rigour. A rare and remarkable study.' - Long Range Planning
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Philip Streatfield is Supply Chain Director at Entertainment UK. Before taking up this position he was Global Logistic Director at SmithKline Beecham where he had responsibility for managing significant organizational change.

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Table of Contents

Series preface
Foreword
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Controlling quality? 13
3 The emergence of new products: the story of SmithKline Beckman and its merger with Beecham 26
4 Managing in a post-merger situation 53
5 Making sense of the paradox of control in merger situations 76
6 Measuring performance is not quite as simple as it seems 92
7 Supply chain management is messier than one might expect 115
8 Are managers "in control"? 125
Postscript 141
References 143
Index 151
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