Corporate Failure by Design: Why Organizations are Built to Fail

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - Business & Economics - 297 pages

Based on data regarding corporate mortality, organizations are built to fail: a conclusion critical to managers, employees, stockholders, consultants, customers, vendors, competitors, and therefore all of us who transact with and depend on organizations. Yet, literature about organizational management tends to focus on education and inspiration, and to bristle with optimism about the potential success of applying its wares. Ignored, in virtually all of this literature is the reality that personnel may or may not be inherently self-interested, but certainly join business organizations in order to serve individual rather than organizational interests.

Individual self-interest is advanced through control of various processes in order to rationalize that self-interest as a productive, organizational purpose, which not simply suppresses opposition but also conceals or even demonizes that opposition. These processes include such familiar organizational functions as individual and organizational goal-setting, job and organizational design, leadership, hiring, performance appraisal, compensation, promotion, communication, corporate culture, and change.

At all levels, therefore, the organization's long-term interest is undermined by the goals of the very members of whom it is comprised--it is built to fail. And through control of its various internal processes and elimination of opposition, the organization pursues self-destructive goals without knowing it.


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The Corporate Suicide Mission The Emergence of Organizational Purpose
The Enemy Within Organizational Members and Their Jobs
Dressed for Success Qualified to Fail Staffing the Organization
The Psychopathology of Leadership
The Training and Evaluation of Incompetence
Failure as Its Own Reward
Together we Fall
Partners in Crime
The Blind Leading the Blind Learning How to Fail
The Agony of Defeat The Hidden Costs of Organizational Failure
Learning from Failure Saving Organizations from Themselves
The End of Organization as We Know It Survival in the Postorganizational World
A Grand Theory of Organizational SelfDestruction

The Company of Strangers Organizational Communication and the Lack of It
The Smoking Gun Life inside the Monopoly
The Ritual of Change

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About the author (2000)

JONATHAN I. KLEIN has served on the faculty at the Graduate School of Management at Rutgers University, where he won the Horace de Podwin Award for research excellence, at Pepperdine University, and at California State University, Los Angeles. Klein currently teaches at the University of Southern California, the California School of Professional Psychology, and at California Lutheran University. In addition, he serves as Director of the Doctorate in Business Administration program at American International University in Los Angeles, and as a consultant to corporate management.

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