The Healthy Organization

A Revolutionary Approach to People & Management

Brian Dive

Publisher: Kogan Page, 2002, 278 pages

ISBN: 0-7494-3629-8

Keywords: Change Management, Human Resources, Management, Organizational Development

Last modified: May 19, 2010, 4:06 p.m.

Despite the huge volume of research work covering organizational design by everyone from management gurus, sociologists and behavioral scientists to management and business journalists, most organizations remain profoundly unhealthy. There are a number of reasons for this: poor organizational design, faulty company strategy, unclear links to strategy, poor company culture and unhappy employees, to name a few.

In this groundbreaking title, Brian Dive reveals that the unhealthy features of both large and small organizations, whether private or public, voluntary or cooperative, all stem from the same source, namely the lack of true accountability. Brian Dive illustrates that organizations are unhealthy because they lack transparent decision-making accountability.

Based on the author's experience gained from working at Unilever for 31 years and, more recently, working for Tesco for 2 years as a consultant, and covering research in over 50 countries, Brian Dive answers the recurring questions that dog an organization's development:

  • How Many People Should There Be In The Organization?
  • How Many Layers Of Hierarchy Are Necessary?
  • How Can You Effectively Reward Employees?
  • What Are The Logical Steps Of Professional Development For Employees?
  • What Career Paths Should Individuals Follow?

By following the steps outlined by Brian Dive in the book, healthy organizational management will lead to greater competitiveness, spark innovation and increase employee empowerment.

  • Chapter 1 The healthy organization
    • What is meant by organization?
    • What is a healthy organization?
    • What is a flat organization?
    • Why are organizations unhealthy?
    • Accountability is the key
    • Decision-making accountability
    • How flat is too flat?
    • The formula for a healthy organization: 'work levels minus 1'
    • Shortcomings of re-engineering
    • The causes of unhealthy organizations
    • Can an organization be too flat?
    • Too flat or too tall - the same consequences
    • Outline of the book
    • The vision of a healthy organization
  • Chapter 2 The empirical evidence
    • The drivers of business success
    • Early developments
    • Implementation at Unilever and Tesco
    • Field 'stress tests'
    • The diversity of the evidence
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3 The decision-making accountability model
    • Link to business strategy
    • Decision-making accountability
    • The DMA model - a blueprint for the leadership and development of people
    • Understanding the DMA model
    • Line and support jobs
    • Work levels and processes
    • The DMA model and your organization
    • Summary review
  • Chapter 4 How to develop a healthy organization
    • Flexible model
    • Pilot probes at Unilever and Tesco
    • Operational accountability (work levels 1-3)
    • Strategic accountability (work levels 4-6)
    • Accountability for governance (work levels 7 and 8)
    • Chapter review.
  • Chapter 5 How to stimulate genuine empowerment and innovation
    • The empowerment illness
    • Span of control
    • What is the cure?
    • What then is empowerment?
    • Innovation and organizational schizophrenia
    • Levels of scientific work
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 6 Broadbanding: fool's gold
    • Why broadband?
    • Broadbanding of what?
    • Shortcomings of broadbanding money
    • Critique of reasons for broadbanding
    • Broadbanding of responsibility
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7 The salmon fallacy
    • The salmon fallacy
    • Sub-optimal talent development
    • Contribution of DMA to leadership development
    • Linking DMA and competencies
    • Development; Rubicons
    • The leadership log
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8 Tracking the salmon
    • Identifying talent
    • Tracking
    • Evidence for career tracks
    • Other critical determinants of tracking
    • DMA and the level playing field
    • Developmental experiences
    • Angling for healthy salmon
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9 Mobilizing change
    • Resistance to change
    • Commitment at the top
    • The HR function
    • Consultation with line management
    • The communication model
    • Types of organizational change
    • Communication materials
    • Training
    • Lessons learnt
    • Evaluation
    • Summary
  • Chapter 10 The
    • The challenge of tomorrow
    • The growth imperative
    • Accountability for growth
    • The impact of the Internet
    • Between a rock and a hard place
    • A jobless world
    • The organization of projects
    • Projects and the DMA model
    • The role of technology
    • Capitalism's lack of accountability
    • Time in accountability level - a new approach
    • DMA, the individual and social capital
    • In summary.


The Healthy Organization

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excellent ********** (10 out of 10)

Last modified: May 19, 2010, 4:06 p.m.

Wow! What a treat!

What at first glance looks like another "touchy-feely" book about organizations, quickly transforms into a primer on how we work, manage, organize, change, think and how we progress career-wise.

And all that, with a lot of references to practical situations and academic research. In a few hundred pages! Why have nobody ever told me about this book before!

Better than this, they seldom come. Recommended reading for MBA students as well as MBA graduates and especially for old executives, that wants a comprehensive viewpoint.


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