Survivng Today in the Organization

October 9, 2010 — Print this Page

Perhaps the most timely book published and certainly one of the most needed of its day and definitely one of the undiscovered gems, is James Heaphey’s How to Survive in an Organization.The author knows about organizations.Entities like IBM, GM and the Federal Government brought him in for his knowledge. He knows first hand, the intricacies and corridors of the corporate world.

The casual browser might think it to be another career book, but it is not. It may be viewed as a biopic look inside the corporate world and an identification of the carcinoma that has pervaded today’s organizational culture.It also offers the analytical reader advice on how to deal positively with the imperfections.

How To Survive In An Organization is a book in what C.P. Snow called “these absurdities we call organization.” It deals with the realities of behavior in organizations,as revealed in studies done by behavioral scientists, and it gives very specific no nonsense advice on how to get and keep a job and even get ahead.

This book follows in traditions of Machiavelli’s The Prince, Henry Taylor’s The Statesman, Chin-Ning Chu’s Thick Face Black Heart, and the Polonius to Laertes lines of Hamlet, all of whom warned that in situations of scarcity and conflict traditional ideas of morality are at best impractical and can be dysfunctional.

Readers will be taken deep within the findings of behavioral science to see an objective picture of organizational behavior. Though some of these findings are taught in business schools and public management courses, in general this body of knowledge is a well-kept secret.

And even the management students usually get it wrong because they are given the findings in small doses in the form of now-and-then problems for managers to solve. What has been unveiled in these studies is not a now-and-then thing, it is the essence of what goes on inside organizations.

You will not be told that there are magic ways to conquer evil in the name of organizational effectiveness. You will be told how to cope and survive as an individual.

“Organizational effectiveness” (aka “organizational efficiency” and “the good of the organization as a whole”) is a phantom. One man’s organizational effectiveness is another man’s job loss. Efficiency is in some people’s interest, and against the interests of others. Goodness is in the eyes of the beholder and is usually very self-serving.

This book is about all those positions in organizations between workers at the bottom and the CEO. Thus, it includes those with supervisory responsibilities, staff persons in areas such as budget and personnel, and professionals.

The best way to misunderstand what this book is about is to think that the author intends to come up with a new organizational approach for dealing with the realities. This is not another management gimmick book. No MBO, TQM, doing-it-in-a-minute or reengineering tricks will be discovered as the pages are turned. Organizations are not and can never be utopias.”

Printed from the History Publishing Company website, visit .

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