Weaving Complexity and Business: Engaging the Soul at Work

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9781587990434: Weaving Complexity and Business: Engaging the Soul at Work
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Weaving Complexity and Business brings business people a new way of thinking about and working in the new economy, one that draws on the new science of complexity, which recognizes that business organizations are complex adaptive systems, in which people are crucial but unpredictable factors in their development. It offers managers and companies a deeper understanding of the organizational dynamics of today’s fast-paced/changing business environment both within companies and among them. Moreover, the book outlines a new theory of business that places human-oriented management practices under a theoretical umbrella of complexity science. The book also contains detailed case studies of successful UK and US companies that have embraced the principles of complexity science.

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Review:

For businesses to succeed in the 21st century, people can't be treated like cogs in a wheel, ready to be sacrificed for profits, say authors Roger Lewin and Birute Regine in The Soul at Work. Instead, people must "become the new bottom line," they say, drawing this conclusion with the help of complexity science and their own study of companies that profit by putting people first. "In today's business environment of rapid change, a collective effort, a recognized need for others, becomes the means of survival and success," say Lewin, a science writer, and Regine, a psychologist. Businesses that follow the principles of complexity science are distinguished by fewer levels of hierarchy and more open communication, and they value people "as a way to promote adaptability and business success."

To show the principles of this new science at work, the authors profile organizations as diverse as the VeriFone division of Hewlett-Packard, DuPont, Monsanto, Babel's Paint and Decorating Stores in Massachusetts, Greenwich Village restaurants in New York, and Muhlenberg Medical Center in New Jersey. And they identify three practices common to these organizations: a style of leadership that guides without being controlling, the creation of dynamic teams, and the development of strong relationships among workers, customers, and community. The Soul at Work is an excellent resource for businesses and individuals interested in succeeding by getting the best out of people. --Dan Ring

About the Author:

Roger Lewin is a prize-winning author and wrote the acclaimed Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos; recipient of the inaugural Lewis Thomas Award for excellence in the communication of life sciences; and the 1992 Award for contribution to issues in conservation by the Society of Conservation Biology. Between 1990 and 1993, he was a visiting professor in biology at Wayne State University, and an associate of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University from 1993 to 1998. He speaks frequently around the world at conferences on complexity science and business.

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