Here's one more title that may be difficult to find but is a very good
book on understanding systems throughout nature with lots of hand drawn
figures like in Senge, but with a broader perspective than just
organizations. It was really my first exposure to systems ideas:
Joel de Rosnay, The Macroscope: A New World Scientific System, Harper & Row,
1979, translated from the French version, Le Macroscope: Vers une vision
globale, published in 1975.
You might find it in a library. Worth the search. It looks at
ecology, the economy, the city, business and industry, living organisms
and the cell as systems and helps us to see the similarities among them
and lots more. A pioneering book in this area for me.
And while I'm at it, how about
Fritjoj Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising
Culture, Simon & Schuster, 1982.
All about systems, with a whole chapter titled: "The Systems View
The Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering A New Vision of
Man and Nature in Cooperation, Harper & Row, 1968.
The story of a wonderful community in Northern Scotland (I do not
know if this community is still in existence, but you'll recognize the
principles on which it's based). Also don't know if the book is still in
print--worth the search though.
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Basic
A Pulitzer Prize winner, but complicated to wade through. All
about wholeness and systems. On the cover it says, "A metaphorical fugue
on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll."
Another obscure but insightful book:
Albert Low, Zen and Creative Management, originally published in 1976 by
Doubleday & Company.
Probably difficult to find as well. Starts with a chapter titled
"Shareholder, Employee, Customer: The Basic Triad" and concludes with the
chapter "Zen as a Discipline for Managers."
Theodore Levitt, Marketing for Business Growth, McGraw-Hill, 1974.
Another difficult to find book (sorry). Levitt is the originator
of The Marketing Concept in his famous 1960 HBR article "Marketing
Myopia." This book talks a lot about creating mutually beneficial
relationships between organizations and customers. A chapter from this
book is reprinted in The Quality Yearbook 1996 (McGraw-Hill, of which I am
the humble co-editor). Levitt's book is practical and insightful. He is a
seminal figure in modern management in my opinion.
William Lareau, American Samurai, Warner Books, 1991.
This is one of the single best reviews of what TQM is all about
that I have found. It also provides a great foundation for understanding
why we must make the move away from traditional management practices to
TQM. And the book has a real personality. It includes chapters like
"'Real'" Managers aren't Bosses," "Performance Appraisals: Why do We
Punish Ourselves?" and lots more.
And I haven't seen anyone list
Peter F. Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, Harper &
It is a classic and a great reference. It includes points like:
The profit motive and its offspring, maximization of profits
are...irrelevant tot he function of a business" and "There is really only
one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer." (Pages
60 and 61.) Drucker has written lots of other insightful books as well
(but you know that).
A new book that is kind of interesting:
Francis J. Gouillart and James N. Kelly, Transforming the Organization:
Reframing Corporate Direction, Restructuring the Company, Revitalizing the
Enterprise, and Renewing People, McGraw-Hill, 1995.
Looks at the organization using the metaphor of a biological
system and what this means in terms of the four Rs in the subtitle. I
think you will resonate with this book if you like systems thinking.
Another new book that probably few know about:
C. Dan McArthur and Larry Womack, Outcome Management: Redesigning Your
Business Systems To Achieve Your Vision, Quality Resources, 1995.
It is about on focusing on outcomes and is based on the systems
view. It includes a take off on PDCA: Dream, Think, Plan, Do and some
other clever stuff like that. It gets you thinking in good ways.
I didn't really mean to include this many titles or go on like this when I
started this post, it just happened when I started thinking about books I
have lying around. I hope it's useful to you.
-- John Woods email@example.com