Review of Why Should Anyone Work Here?

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8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Business professors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones follow up on their insightful book, Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?, by asking why anyone should work at your company in the first place. Their insights often contradict what passes for today’s common wisdom – as spelled out in other business books – about the power of corporate culture to attract and retain top employees. As with their earlier book, Goffee and Jones prefer a relaxed, conversational tone and clear, actionable examples. They focus on teaching leaders how to add organizational value by developing their employees. The authors include handy “diagnostics” to test how much your firm values the factors that matter to today’s workers. The sets of “Action Points for Leaders” that close and summarize each chapter are a welcome feature. The authors’ suggestions for creating a more effective, engaging workplace will resonate with CEOs, HR managers, entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to maximize worker productivity and happiness.

About the Authors

Rob Goffee is emeritus professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School, where he teaches in the Senior Executive Program and where Gareth Jones is a fellow of the Center for Management Development. The authors, who also cowrote Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? and Clever, consult for international companies.


A New Paradigm

Employees on all levels suffer a widespread malaise: Due to “social structures” and “labor market conditions,” workers believe they are “effectively driven to allocated professions” and can’t select where they work or what they do. Goffee and Jones agree that people often get thrust into roles at work and have a hard time escaping. Even in the midst of worker fatalism, however, a new paradigm is emerging: Companies can’t dictate rules, tasks or roles to staffers. Instead, to attract and retain the best people, firms must “adapt and transform” to gain and inspire “star” employees.

Four Factors

The authors contend that four issues drive this evolving change. The first is a fundamental “reinvention” of capitalism. Here the professors indulge in doublespeak. Their argument seems to suggest that as companies reinvent policies, the basic nature of capitalism will alter to reflect those policies. The book’s thesis makes a more credible point: Today’s workers demand “self-expression,” “responsive” employers as well as a chance to grow professionally.

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