The Living Company

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9780071038829: The Living Company

Most companies do not survive the upheavals of change and competition over the long haul. But there are a few remarkable examples of firms that have withstood the test of several centuries. What hidden lessons do they hold for the rest of us? In The Living Company, the man who first introduced the revolutionary concept of the learning organization has turned his attention to identifying the critical characteristics of organizational longevity. Arie de Geus reveals the keys to managing for a long and prosperous organizational life. He draws a sharp distinction between "living companies" whose purpose is to fulfill their potential and perpetuate themselves as ongoing communities and "economic companies," which are in business solely to produce wealth for a small inner group. He shows clearly that living companies manage for survival; economic companies manage for profit.

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The average life span of a Fortune 500 company is less than half a century, yet there also are corporations around the world that have been in business for 200, 500, even 700 years. Arie de Geus, a retired Royal Dutch/Shell Group executive, maintains after studying both extremes that the most enduring treat their companies as "living work communities" rather than pure economic machines. The Living Company: Habits for Survival in a Turbulent Business Environment persuasively outlines his resultant prescription for organizational longevity.

From the Publisher:

Winner, The Edwin G. Booz Prize for the Most Innovative, Insightful Management Book of 1997, The Financial Times/Booz-Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Awards

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