Friday Mar 13, 2009

Interview -- Second Part

Sun's web team has just posted the second part of the interview that Janice Heiss conducted with me recently.

Janice has also written a very good summary of the interview. In conducting the interview, Janice gave me an opportunity to go over some of my own thinking in the subject matters we considered together. I'm truly grateful to her for turning this into a productive conversation that goes well beyond the expected questions. Thank you Janice.

This interview was originally conducted for java.net and Sun Developer Network

Sunday Mar 08, 2009

Survival and Growth

I just started reading Arie de Geus' book The Living Company, and found in the first few pages a clear echo of Chester Barnard's The Functions of the Executive. Both emphasize the centrality of survival and growth ("thriving"). Here is Arie de Geus writing about the topic: 

Like all organisms, the living company exists primarily for its own survival and improvement: to fulfill its potential and to become as great as it can be. It does not exist solely to provide customers with goods, or to return investment to shareholders, any more than you, the reader, exist solely for the sake of your job or your career. After all, you, too, are a living entity. You exist to survive and thrive; working at your job is a means to that end...

If the real purpose of a living company is to survive and thrive in the long run, then the priorities of managing such a company are very different from the values set forth in most of the modern academic business literature. Such a purpose also contradicts the views held by many managers and shareholders. To be sure, many management fashions resonate with the idea of a learning company—for example, the concepts of the "learning organization" and "knowledge as a strategic asset." But there are serious doubts that even the most enthusiastic managers and shareholders have fully explored the ramification of these concepts.   

Before writing all this, Arie de Geus, a long-time Shell employee, had led Shell's Group Planning study on the longevity of companies. The study had concluded that companies live longer depending on their (1) sensitivity to the environment, (2) cohesion and identity, (3) tolerance (and as a corollary, decentralization), and (4) conservative financing, which gives rise to an ability to govern one's own growth and evolution effectively.  

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

The Engineering of Elections

Returning home always makes you wonder what is going on.

No place on earth has the art of engineering elections been better perfected than in America, the "mother" of all modern Western "democracies" with the possible exception of the version of it practiced in the British Isles. Queries and probes can now be blocked at a whim, and all possibilities of candidate comparisons relegated to remote, meaningless but comfortable corners. The "system" systematically survives even as it atrophies and wilts to its very roots.

Thursday Dec 08, 2005

Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning, and Identity

I've begun reading Etienne Wenger's Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity.

I ran into this book while reading John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid's Social Life of Information, about which I've written here earlier. I've always been interested in how social groupings and organizations learn, evolve, prosper and survive, how we learn and work, and how we come to be who we are as individuals.

Wenger's book would be a good start for whoever wants to explore these topics. Wenger is also deeply interested in building the conceptual framework that will help with the design of organizations, artifacts and processes.

Wenger's ambitious enterprise suits the practitioner as much as it stimulates the theoretician. As the book plate says, the material "is presented with all the breadth, depth, and rigor necessary to address such a complex and yet profoundly human topic."

 

About

MortazaviBlog

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today