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 / Second Quarter 1997 / Issue 7(originally published by Booz & Company)


"The Organization of the Future," edited by Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith and Richard Beckard

Although the book refers several times to the digital age and the Internet, there is an odd lack of effervescence over the possibilities of a wired future. Pierre Everaert, chief executive of the Dutch company Koninklijke Ahold, does observe, interestingly, that organizations will have to match their management of human capital to the "tempo and timing" of the outside world. "Computers have a novelty span of six months at the most. Software changes by the day.... Time to market and time to money have been drastically cut." It's left to Charles Handy to speculate on the impact of the organizations that will grow in cyberspace. Managers, who have traditionally done their managing during "face time," will have to learn new, as-yet-undefined skills to cope with employees who may only be connected by fiber optics and I.S.D.N. lines. Unfortunately, Mr. Handy doesn't do much more than raise the issue.

On this and other issues, climbing a little further out on the limb would have taken The Organization of the Future beyond the primer stage.

Reprint No. 97210

Barbara Presley Noble, the former At Work and Business Book Review columnist for The New York Times, has an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in business and economic journalism at Columbia.
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