The Future of Work
How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life

Thomas W. Malone
(Harvard Business School Press, 2004)

Imagine organizations where bosses give employees huge freedom to decide what to do and when to do it. Imagine electing your own bosses and voting directly on important company decisions. Imagine organizations where most workers aren’t employees at all, but electronically connected freelancers living wherever they want to. And imagine that all this freedom in business lets people get more of whatever they really want in life—money, interesting work, helping other people, or time with their families.

In The Future of Work, renowned organizational theorist Thomas W. Malone, codirector of MIT’s landmark initiative “Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century,” shows where these things are already happening today and how—if we choose—they can happen much more in the future. Malone argues that a convergence of technological and economic factors—particularly the rapidly falling cost of communication—is enabling a change in business organizations as profound as the shift to democracy in governments. For the first time in history, says Malone, it will be possible to have the best of both worlds—the economic and scale efficiencies of large organizations, and the human benefits of small ones: freedom, motivation, and flexibility.

Based on twenty years of groundbreaking research, this landmark book provides compelling models for actually designing the “company of the future.” Through vivid examples of organizations around the world Malone outlines:

    • Four decentralized organizational structures—loose hierarchies, democracies, external markets, and internal markets—that will be enabled by technology but centered around enduring human values
    • The shift from “command-and-control” management to “coordinate-and-cultivate,” and the new skills that will be required to succeed
    • A framework for determining if a company’s situation is ripe for decentralizing and which organizational structure would be most effective

Visionary and convincing, The Future of Work shows how technology now offers us the choice of creating a world that is not just richer, but better.

--from book jacket

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