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How CEO THink_Harmon

How CEO THink_Harmon - HowCEO'sThink ,...

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How CEO's Think John Roberts is a professor of Economics, Strategic Management and International Business at the Graduate School of  Business at Stanford University. In 2004, he published a book,  The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and   Growth  (Oxford University Press).  The Economist  promptly declared the book the best business book of the year. This is the kind  of book that a smart CEO would read and I decided to read it just to remain informed on what  The Economist  and smart CEOs  considered sage business advice. I was especially drawn to it by the subtitle, suggesting the book would provide insight into  organizational design for performance and growth.  Roberts opens his book with the line - "The most fundamental responsibilities of general managers are setting strategy and  designing the organization to implement it." That sentence resonated with me, since I strongly agree. Roberts went on to say that  - 1) he was going to talk about the value of economics related to the study of strategy, and 2) this was not a "how to" book, but a  book offering "ways to think about the problems of designing organizations for performance and growth." The author continued to  lay his groundwork by mentioning that there are two bases for the book - first, "the proposition that general managers must be  organizational designers" and second, "the idea that economics has much to say about the problem of organization." He goes on  to say that the latter owes much to Michael Porter. Since I consider Michael Porter to be the father of modern Business Process  Management theory, I settled in for an interesting read.  Roberts' book is well-written and it flows smoothly. No one interested in management could fail to learn from it. In the tradition of  management books, it cites lots of examples of firms that have done things that worked, with occasional asides on inspiring  leaders and interesting research.  Overall, however, I was disappointed. A quick check of the index shows that processes are only mentioned once. Activities are  mentioned in the text, but not in the index. There are no references to today's process technologies like Lean, Six Sigma, or  SCOR. It turns out that "organizational design," for Roberts, refers to arranging functional units. This is so important to Roberts  that he includes a chapter on motivation that focuses on setting incentives for the people heading the functional units. A typical  example is: "Organizational architecture can also be used to affect motivation. For example, creating small business units can 
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