Corporate Failure by Design: Why Organizations are Built to Fail

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

The Corporate Suicide Mission The Emergence of Organizational Purpose
7
The Enemy Within Organizational Members and Their Jobs
27
Dressed for Success Qualified to Fail Staffing the Organization
41
The Psychopathology of Leadership
63
The Training and Evaluation of Incompetence
81
Failure as Its Own Reward
107
Together we Fall
127
Partners in Crime
147
The Blind Leading the Blind Learning How to Fail
219
The Agony of Defeat The Hidden Costs of Organizational Failure
233
Learning from Failure Saving Organizations from Themselves
243
The End of Organization as We Know It Survival in the Postorganizational World
251
A Grand Theory of Organizational SelfDestruction
265
Appendices
275
Notes
281
Bibliography
287

The Company of Strangers Organizational Communication and the Lack of It
163
The Smoking Gun Life inside the Monopoly
187
The Ritual of Change
203

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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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