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”Reinventing the Organisation” by Arthur Yeung & Dave Ulrich – a HBR Book Review

Reinventing the organisation Yeung and Ulrich

“Reinventing the Organisation” – by Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich, a Harvard Business Review book

There are usually few books addressing the organisational development field – and even less out there of a relevant nature. “Reinventing the Organisation” makes a come back at this lateral management topic – and a good one.
My first question when reaching for this new Harvard Business Review title was – why do we need to recreate our compqnies’ structures?

In these days of fluid agile management, empowered workers and wonder technology tools, shouldn’t the organisation’s be enough resources to adjust by themselves?


“Reinventing the Organisation” – by Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich, a Harvard Business Review book

Apparently yes. Unfortunately, the marketplace disruptions show otherwise. The ever-growing technology stack brings not only automations and self-balancing acts. It also brings massive complexity, disconnected teams with disconnected objectives, over-burdened managers. I hear more and more often how most companies leaders and employees are struggling to keep the boat together. So I think “Reinventing the Organisation” huts the bookshelves on a timely manner.

“Reinventing the Organisation” is also a different breed of re-design book. From the subtitle, you get the idea of the segmentation that it is addressing: “how companies can deliver radically greater value in fast-changing markets”. The authors themselves are experienced with the nature of the technology organizations – and the way they continue to re-pivot themselves whilst growing. Arthur Yeung has seen some of the largest technology companies first hand, as their advisor or as their researcher. Dave Ulrich is not only a Professor of Business Administration, but also one of the influential advisors to many of the Fortune 200 companies. They both combine their practical Board experiences with academic methodology – and looking at some of the most successful technology behemoths of today.

This is not to say that these organizations’ journeys are exemplary. This is actually where “Reinventing the Organisation” is actually quite interesting – it looks at several critical areas and sheds light on how the companies managed to emerge stronger and more resilient after meeting their crises. For me, one of the most interesting parts looked at governance – how companies behave and marry their culture with the market-oriented ecosystems. Yeung and Ulrich take the governance concept beyond the handbook definition – combining an interesting input-output process to create a roadmap for organizations internal improvement.

All in all, “Reinventing the Organisation” makes a strong point on coming back to a less visited organization’s map – its inner workings. It is probably time to bring back in focus the People and Culture department – with a twist or two, of course.§

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