Fulmer, a harvard business school
fellow, offers a roadmap for building an adaptive organization that is able to embrace constant change and thrive in today's highly competitive business world because of its flexibility, communication skills, diversity, and emphasis on collaboration and trust. Using biology as a metaphor for economic activity, he presents business as a complex adaptive system
in which the future cannot be predicted or controlled. Citing corporate examples such as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Netscape, Yahoo!, 3M, Disney, and Mercedes Benz, he showcases his thesis that all organizations are facing greater volatility and uncertainty and that there is much to be learned about coping with such a world from those companies that are already adapting to it. The author's three main sections consider landscapes (what is happening around us), learning (the root of adaptability), and leadership (driving the adaptive organization). His recommendations include adopting a flat pyramid management structure, creating a culture of professionalism and communication, and maximizing the use of the Internet. Mary Whaley
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...an interesting and well-written book....Shaping the Adaptive Organization offers many ideas and insights which you can use on the job. -- Financial Post (Canada)
In the world's harshest environments, the key to survival is adaptation. It's a simple tenet of biological life, but when you apply it to the business realm, it can yield fresh insights and innovative ideas for companies struggling to survive. In this intriguing new book, harvard business school Fellow William Fulmer does just that. Drawing on ideas and concepts of biology, he provides a broad, sweeping look at the business environment today--one characterized by unprecedented volatility and constant uncertainty. And the book supplies concrete advice on how to build an adaptive organization that's able to embrace constant change and thrive in today's highly competitive business landscape. Readers learn how to: * Pinpoint which landscape they operate in, recognize how rugged it is, and gauge their own fitness for survival * Cultivate learning, the root of adaptive organizations, through strategic planning and organizational design * Emulate the leadership skills needed for creating adaptive organizations, both start-ups and established companies * Discover why "the edge of chaos" is the best place to be. SHAPING THE ADAPTIVE ORGANIZATION is packed with powerful examples of how adaptive companies are coping in an unpredictable, ever-changing environment--as well as eye-opening stories of how successful businesses can quickly find themselves in serious trouble.
About the Author
William E. Fulmer, Ph.D. (Boston, MA) is a senior fellow and senior vice president with the Executive Development Center of the harvard business school
. He has also served on the faculties of George Mason University, The College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and the University of Alabama.