Agents of Change, Crossing the Post-Industrial Divide


by Charles Heckscher, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University, Michael Maccoby, President, The Maccoby Group, Rafael Ramirez, Department of Management and Human Resources, HEC-Paris, France, and Pierre-Eric Tixier, Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris

Oxford University Press, March 2003
List price: $35 (paperback), $80 Hardcover
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This book focuses on the transition faced by business organizations and their stakeholders as they move from protected markets to open competition, and it explores how these changes can be facilitated by outside interveners/agents. The four authors-two from Europe and two from the United States-have worked separately as consultants with leaders of many companies and unions facing these challenges including A.T. & T, Lucent, Electricite de France and the Italian State Railways (Ferrovie dello Stato). The reader is thus afforded an unusual insight into the process of change in a large organization-not only close up accounts of what happened, but understanding of the relationship between the researcher/consultant and different groups within the organization-senior managers, H.R. people, unions, and ordinary employees. The book draws lessons from these cases and experiences on a number of different levels: lessons about the methods of intervention in large organizations; about the nature of the organizational transitions as business faces increased competition; about the pressures this places on unions and other stakeholder groups; about the differences between the U.S. and European context; and about possible models for advancing the change process in the future. The analysis finally focuses on the larger set of forces driving all these cases: the transition to a global post-industrial economy. The experience of change in these corporations, from this perspective, illuminates the dynamics of transition between neo-corporatist stakeholder relations and a more pluralist and decentralized system emerging throughout the industrialized world. This unusual book-by a team of highly experienced researchers/consultants-will be of interest to a broad readership of academics, students, consultants, H.R. professionals interested in the process and management and change and contemporary trends in modern societies.

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