Shaping the Adaptive Organization: Landscapes, Learning, and Leadership in Volatile Times

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9780814405468: Shaping the Adaptive Organization: Landscapes, Learning, and Leadership in Volatile Times

Fulmer, a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School, shows how companies in all fields, particularly companies in the technology sector, which operate in very chaotic environments, can learn to cope with volatility and uncertainty by borrowing strategies from biological models, especially those known as complex adaptive systems. He draws on the work of groundbreaking scientists to illustrate that the business world is a complex system, and that for a company to succeed, it must become adaptive in the biological sense.

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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.

From Booklist:

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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Fulmer, William E.
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