Corporation on a Tightrope

Corporation on a Tightrope : Balancing Leadership, Governance, and Technology in an Age of Complexity

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Modern business firms face a complex array of problems that result from rapid changes in their competitive environment, and the exponential growth of new technologies. This book recognizes that reality and finds answers to these problems in the new science of complexity. The authors show how small changes in leadership, governance, and technology can have enormous consequences in an organization. They also argue that there is no quick fix to organizational problems - that no one solution will work for all firms. Posing seven principles for organizational success, the authors explain how their ideas apply to a range of business challenges, including ethical conduct, management systems, new organizational forms, networks that are changing the way work gets done, the impact of new technologies, and the kinds of leaders who will be required to manage the new more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 164.6 x 242.3 x 29.2mm | 696.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • line illustrations
  • 0195093259
  • 9780195093254

About John G. Sifonis

John G. Sifonis is the CEO of Siberg Associates. Beverly Goldberg is Vice President of the Twentieth Century Fund, and Vice President of Siberg Associates. Together they authored Dynamic Planning (OUP 1994.)show more

Back cover copy

Corporation on a Tightrope starts from the premise that there is no easy road to corporate success in an age of complexity. Enterprises that are determined to succeed must abandon hope of finding simple solutions in a world in which markets are global, hierarchies are disappearing in the face of advances in technology and the spread of computer networks, and information has become the most important natural resource. Instead of unworkable quick fixes, John G. Sifonis and Beverly Goldberg offer the reader advice based on more than forty years of study and hands-on experience with organizations of every kind. They look back at the history of the corporation and look ahead to the new science of complexity, presenting readers with the information needed to ensure that their organizations can do more than survive in the midst of the uncertainty that surrounds them. Their goal is to help thoughtful leaders create an enterprise that is flexible enough to maintain its balance on the tightrope between order (which can result in stagnation) and chaos (which may result in an inability to function). In that realm are found opportunities for growth without the kind of needless expansion that will cause turmoil when the world once again changes. The flexible organization of the future is a complex adaptive system that responds to the effects of market-driven changes on its three critical components - governance, technology, and leadership. It is an organization capable of self-renewal, constantly reshaping itself to seize opportunities as they emerge and quickly shrink when the market changes yet more

Review quote

Readable and relevant. - Long Range Planning. Vol 31 April 1998. "Corporation on a Tightrope is a restructuring 'cookbook,' one that should be required reading for the chief engineer for change in every business. The increasingly competitive global marketplace of today and the foreseeable future demands flexibility and responsive, decisive strategies. The lessons of success presented in this book can help the visionaries of today to be the leaders of tomorrow."-Charles F. Goff, Chairman & C.E.O., Destec Energy, Inc. "Sifonis and Goldberg have done a masterful job of putting into perspective some of the most daunting challenges facing leaders and managers in today's highly complex, dynamic, and fluid business environment.... The "Principles of Balance" developed by the authors based on their research and experiences are compellingly logical and should be embraced by everyone who seeks to attain success through corporate organizations."-Mark L. Hazelwood, President & C.E.O., ARCO Pipe Line Company "Corporation on a Tightrope presents unique insights into how modern concepts of leadership and organization can be fitted together, how understanding within the company can be developed and attitudes changed. This important and readable book provides new and practical ways to achieve success in today's global economy."-P. Michael Pitfield, Vice Chairman, Power Corporation of Canada "Corporation on a Tightrope is a rich compendium of some of the most interesting and useful insights about organizations and their leadership. It's a guide to the twenty-first century and addresses the question of how organizations and leaders must respond to the complexity, connectivity, and changes now unfolding. Miss reading this at your own peril."-Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, USC, and author of On Becoming a Leader and An Invented Life "Concepts drawn from the life sciences and the developing sciences of complexity seem destined to find uses in the business world. Corporation on a Tightrope provides a coherent and lively beginning for this important discussion. It deserves a wide readership."-Stuart Kauffman, a member of the Sante Fe Institute and author of At Home in the Universeshow more