Summary of The Intelligent Organization

Engaging the Talent and Initiative of Everyone in the Workplace

First Edition: 1996 more...

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The Intelligent Organization book summary
Everybody knows that bureaucracies are dumb. But what’s the alternative?


7 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

6 Style


How can citizens of a society that exalts freedom consent to spend the majority of their lives laboring within organizations that are hierarchical, slow-moving and dictatorial? Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot raised that question in their heralded 1993 book and provided the following answer: Not willingly and not for long. The Pinchots were among the first management scholars to predict the demise of the military-style command structure, along with its inherent secrecy and Machiavellian political sniping. Although a slew of books devoted to the same theme have been published since, none have done a better job at explaining the potential of informed and engaged employees who don’t fear their bosses too much to take decisive action. getAbstract strongly recommends this book, which brims with meticulous case histories showing how teams, employee-owned companies and internal free-market competition have transformed organizations. (In fact, the Pinchots coined the term "intraprenuership" to describe this process.) While you might not be convinced that a company run by consensus can ever compete with one run by The Prince, this book gives you hope that it can.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How intelligent organizations work
  • How more freedom will inevitably increase your employees’ productivity
  • Why managers must learn to waive some control


The Much-Anticipated End of Bureaucracy
Bureaucratic systems, of both the government and corporate variety, are an ineffective and dying breed. Bureaucracies were probably great for landowners and serfs, but they are sorely lacking in an age of information and speed. Bureaucracy is too...
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About the Authors

Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot  have started and still run four companies together. They have also worked with more than half the Fortune 100, led school and community reform projects and collaborated in the writing of their influential book, Intrapreneuring.

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