Jokes about office life in big organizations abound. Just consider the television show The Office or the comic strip Dilbert. Everyone with a job knows bureaucracies’ shortcomings, and everybody who ever hung out at a watercooler has a story about corporate stupidity. So why do people keep grouping together in large structures? Is there anything organizations do well that individuals and small groups can’t do on their own? To find out, professor of social enterprise Ray Fisman and economics editor Tim Sullivan examine organizational life far and wide, from police departments to churches to online companies. They integrate their sometimes meandering observations with history, economic theory and more than a trace of wit. Those who want to know how businesses function will find this look at human psychology and organizational culture intriguing and engaging. getAbstract recommends it to managers, employees and anyone else who wants to know why “the org” works or why it often doesn’t.
About the Authors
Ray Fisman is the co-author of Economic Gangsters and a professor of social enterprise at Columbia Business School. Tim Sullivan is editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press.