Gods of Management

The Changing Work of Organisations

Charles Handy

Publisher: Arrow, 1995, 269 pages

ISBN: 0-09-954841-0

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:35 a.m.

'It was always a myth that there is one best way to manage, but it has been a pervasive myth and a damaging one, to both individuals and organisations. The Greeks at least recognised a variety of gods, even if each had his or her favourite. We need a law of requisite variety in management as well as a theory of cultural propriety.'

The four gods of the title symbolise the very different styles of management and culture to be found in today's organisations. Zeus is the dynamic entrepreneur who rules over companies of the club culture, characterised by speed of decision and rapid intuitive communication. Apollo, god of order and bureaucracy, is the patron of the role culture, based not on personalities but on definition of the jobs to be done. Athena, goddess of craftsmen, recognises only expertise as the basis of power and influence: hers is the task culture. Dionysus is the god preferred by artists and professionals within existential culture, people who owe little or no allegiance to a boss.

Under the witty and sparkling allegory Charles Handy, Britain's foremost business guru, makes a serious analysis of the changing patterns of work and business. Gods of Management is a world bestseller which is required reading for managers, business students and everyone who wants to be a survivor in a world of constantly changing organisational culture.

  • Part One: The Theory of Cultural Propriety
    1. The Four Gods of Management
    2. The Gods at Work
    3. The Gods in Balance
    4. The Gods in Their Settings
  • Part Two: The Apollonian Crisis
    1. The Dilemma of Apollo
    2. Reactions
    3. The Gods in New Order
    4. The Consequences


Gods of Management

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Good ******* (7 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:04 a.m.

Describes four different types of organizations. Very interesting reading.


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