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The Org

We create organizations because we need to get a job done--something we couldn't do alone--and join them because we're inspired by their missions (and our paycheck). But once we're inside, these organizations rarely feel inspirational. So where did it all go wrong? In The Org, Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan explain the tradeoffs that every organization faces, arguing that this everyday dysfunction is actually inherent to the very nature of orgs. The Org diagnoses the root causes of that malfunction, beginning with the economic logic of why organizations exist in the first place, then working its way up through the org's structure from the lowly cubicle to the CEO's office. You'll learn: * The purpose of meetings and why they will never go away* Why even members of al Qaeda are required to submit travel and expense reports* What managers are good for* How the army and other orgs balance marching in lockstep with fostering innovation* Why the hospital administration--not the heart surgeon--is more likely to save your life* Why CEOs often spend more than 80 percent of their time in meetings--and why that's exactly where they should be (and why they get paid so much)
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix Introduction: A Machine for Getting Stuff Done 1 CHAPTER 1: The Outsider 13 CHAPTER 2: Designing the Job 34 CHAPTER 3: Putting Together the Organizational Puzzle 67 CHAPTER 4: In Praise of Squelching Innovation 92 CHAPTER 5: What Management Is Good For 128 CHAPTER 6: The View from the Corner Office 156 CHAPTER 7: The Economics of Org Culture 191 CHAPTER 8: Disaster and Change 217 Conclusion: The Future Org 249 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 267 NOTES 269 INDEX 295 ABOUT THE AUTHORS 309

About the Author

Ray Fisman is the Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise and codirector of the Social Enterprise Program at the Columbia Business School. His research has been published in leading economics journals. He is also a regular contributor to Slate. Tim Sullivan is the editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, and other popular outlets.


"Compelling... The Org aims to explain why organizations--be they private companies or government agencies--work the way they do."--Eduardo Porter, New York Times "The authors' mission to help you 'descend into better-informed cynicism'--to find the 'least dysfunctional' of all possible dysfunctional orgs--is the kind of literary stock that pays greater dividends."--Trevor Butterworth, Wall Street Journal "Wonderfully entertaining."--Marvin Weisbord, Strategy+Business "A voice of reasoned analysis amid the airport bookstore barkers... Fisman and Sullivan's measured approach is far more valuable; the conclusions and insights presented in The Org are ones you can actually use."--Sam Grobart, Bloomberg BusinessWeek "Fisman and Sullivan write in a casual, engaging fashion, a style that makes their book an impressively easy read."--Erika Fry, Fortune

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