Work without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization's Work Operating System

Work without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization's Work Operating System

Work without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization's Work Operating System

Work without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization's Work Operating System


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In this Wall Street Journal bestseller, why the future of work requires the deconstruction of jobs and the reconstruction of work.

Work is traditionally understood as a “job,” and workers as “jobholders.” Jobs are structured by titles, hierarchies, and qualifications. In Work without Jobs, the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau propose a radically new way of looking at work. They describe a new “work operating system” that deconstructs jobs into their component parts and reconstructs these components into more optimal combinations that reflect the skills and abilities of individual workers. In a new normal of rapidly accelerating automation, demands for organizational agility, efforts to increase diversity, and the emergence of alternative work arrangements, the old system based on jobs and jobholders is cumbersome and ungainly. Jesuthasan and Boudreau’s new system lays out a roadmap for the future of work.

Work without Jobs presents real-world cases that show how leading organizations are embracing work deconstruction and reinvention. For example, when a robot, chatbot, or artificial intelligence takes over parts of a job while a human worker continues to do other parts, what is the “job”? DHL found some answers when it deployed social robotics at its distribution centers. Meanwhile, the biotechnology company Genentech deconstructed jobs to increase flexibility, worker engagement, and retention. Other organizations achieved agility with internal talent marketplaces, worker exchanges, freelancers, crowdsourcing, and partnerships. It’s time for organizations to reboot their work operating system, and Work without Jobs offers an essential guide for doing so.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262046411
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 03/29/2022
Series: Management on the Cutting Edge
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 1,119,041
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ravin Jesuthasan, a recognized futurist and authority on the future of work, human capital, and automation, is Senior Partner and Global Leader for Transformation Services at Mercer. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s steering committee on work and employment. John W. Boudreau conducts breakthrough research on human capital, talent, and sustainable competitive advantage. He is Emeritus Professor of Management and Organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Jesuthasan and Boudreau are coauthors of Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage, Lead the Work: Navigating a World Beyond Employment, and Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword vii
Introduction: Work without Jobs Is the New Work Operating System ix
1 Work as Deconstructed Job Elements versus Stable Jobs 1
2 Work Automation Deconstructed: Not Replacing Jobs with Automation but Optimizing Task-Level Combinations of Humans and Automation 15
3 Work Arrangements beyond Employment: A Democratized Work Ecosystem beyond the Fixed Traditional Organizational Boundary 29
4 Deconstructed Workers: Seeing the Whole Person through Skills/Capabilities versus Simply "Jobholders" 51
5 Perpetually Reinventing Deconstructed Work 69
6 Management, Leadership, and Deconstructed Work Coordination: Collaborative Hubs, Teams, Projects, and Agile Work Innovation versus Hierarchy, Structure, Jobs, and Stable Authority 83
7 The New Work Operating System beyond the Organization 107
Conclusions and Next Steps 135
Acknowledgments 155
Notes 157
Index 171

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This timely book will help you radically rethink how to organize work.”
Adam Grant, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
“The world is changing fast but the way we work is, in many crucial ways, stuck in the past. Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau lay out a powerful argument for moving beyond staid and outdated assumptions and toward a reimagined work system. This engaging book will help both individuals and organizations become more agile, resilient, and inclusive.”
Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times best-selling author of When, Drive, and To Sell Is Human
“Purpose and social impact are becoming more important than ever, and employees are demanding more from their employers. It is time we reinvent the world of work as we know it. Work without Jobs provides the radical framework needed to completely rethink the working models we use to ensure work works for everyone.”
Leena Nair, Global Chief Executive Officer, Chanel
“How can an organization evolve in an ever-changing world? This book is essential reading for any business leader who wants to understand the future of work, jobs, and skills.”
Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, Centre for the New Economy and Society, World Economic Forum
“Work and jobs are changing fast, and in this fascinating book the authors provide a masterful guide that will help every manager make the most of the extraordinary opportunities to rethink jobs and boost productivity.”
Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School; author of Redesigning Work

"Work without Jobs should be required reading for the leader and HR manager of the future! Masterfully written, Ravin and John guide readers in understanding the changing landscape of technology in the workplace and how to approach some of today's toughest questions and fears for employees. Become versed in a profound, new understanding of your team and company's jobs with this incredible new book!"
Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Work without Jobs is a joy to read, an innovative and thoughtful account of where the workplace is, and where it is going. It is extremely well-written, with gold nuggets of ideas scattered throughout. This is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of work from two thought leaders.”
Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at the ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Work without Jobs is about how work is changing, inexorably, in ways that will eventually transform every aspect of society. Deeply researched and compelling, this is the book to read this year if you want to gain a deep understanding of how work is changing and what it might mean for your organization. Full of history, data, research, and ideas, it will be an invaluable resource for academics and practitioners alike.”
—Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School

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