Summary of The Organization Man

University of Pennsylvania Press,
First Edition: 1956 more...

Buy the book

The Organization Man book summary
William H. Whyte shook up America’s perception of itself with The Organization Man.


9 Overall

8 Importance

10 Innovation

9 Style


William H. Whyte’s classic 1950s study of American corporations and their white-collar workers is a bittersweet trip back to a lost world of munificent corporations, placid suburbia and cookie-cutter “organization men.” When Whyte’s book appeared in 1956, 99% of white-collar workers were white men, and they tended to remain with their employers for their entire careers. As young men, they looked forward to superior benefits and generous pensions. But organization men paid a hefty price for this security: their souls, in the form of their individuality. getAbstract recommends this insightful study, which was groundbreaking for its time, to any thoughtful person who wants to understand the midcentury origins of modern corporate life.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How 1950s-era corporations robbed white-collar workers of their uniqueness,
  • How the “Social Ethic” affects life at work and at home, and
  • How white-collar employees can regain their individuality.


Circa 1956: “The Organization” and Its War on Individuality
America’s giant corporations are laying the groundwork for a profound shift in societal values. Individuality is stepping down to give way to the promise of the “collective.” Management boards strive to stamp out originality so...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

About the Author

William H. Whyte was an editor at Fortune magazine and a distinguished professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York. The publication of The Organization Man established Whyte as America’s foremost organizational analyst.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category