The Back Cover of 'Understanding Organizations'

6 January 2023

Read below the back cover of my new book
It can be ordered on Berrett-Koehler or on Amazon.

The time has come to understand organizations

We live in a world of organizations, from our birth in hospitals until our burial by funeral homes. In between, we are educated, employed, entertained, and exasperated by organizations. We had better understand how these strange beasts really work. But where can we go to find out?

Welcome to Understanding Organizations . . . Finally!

This book synthesizes the experience of one of the world’s preeminent management thinkers. For half a century, Henry Mintzberg has been observing organizations, advising them, engaging them, and escaping them. Here he offers a masterful update and revision of his 1983 classic, Structure in Fives.

Believing there is one best way to structure organizations is the worst way to do so. A better place to start is by recognizing different species of organizations—personal enterprises, programmed machines, professional assemblies, project pioneers, and others. Mintzberg explores these forms and the forces that drive them toward hybrids and across their life cycles.

Along the way we are treated to insights such as these:  

  •      Reorganizing is popular because it’s so easy.
  •      The machine organization is efficient. The project organization becomes effective by being inefficient.
  •      Perhaps nothing has broken the spirit of our professional services more than the imposition of technocratic fixes.
  •      An organization cannot put blinders on its people and then expect peripheral vision.
  •      We must beware of immaculate conception in designing our organizations. They require emergent structures, just as they require emergent strategies.

Understanding Organizations…Finally! - Table of Contents

Hermits don’t need to understand organizations, but the rest of us do. You will find no better guide to the care and feeding of these extraordinarily varied and vital creatures than this book. 

(To see Table of Contents, click image on the right.)