Monday, February 11, 2008

Quotations about Libraries, Librarians, Books, Etc. , Vol. 2, 2008

Belasco, James A.
“Organizations are like elephants—they both learn through conditioning. Trainers shackle young elephants with heavy chains to deeply embedded stakes. In that way the elephant learns to stay in its place. Older elephants never to leave even though they have the strength to pull the stake and move beyond...Like powerful elephants, many companies are bound by earlier conditioned constraints. “We've always done it this way” is as limiting to any organization progress as the unattached chain around the elephant's foot. Success ties you to the past. The very factors that produced today's success often create tomorrow's failures.”

Belbin, Meredith
“Hierarchy is an approach to organization that is beginning to lose its once unquestioned authority where it exists in its most extreme form; in multilevel hierarchy, which gives rise to multilevel bureaucracy, and absolute hierarchy, where all work is determined by downward assignment and where peers play no part in distributing work among themselves. History has imposed these forms of organization upon us. They will be displaced only if we find something better.”

Drucker, Peter F.
“Are you organized for yesterday rather than today? Are you organized for the kind of small, cozy family operation you were, and now you've grown from a four-room boarding house into into a six-hundred-room hotel without any change? When the noise level rises, it's a sign of discomfort. Your organization structure and the reality of opration are not congruent anymore. Then you need a change in your structure.”

Drucker, Peter
“An organization is a human group, composed of especialist, working together on a common task. Unlike society, community, or family—the traditional social aggregates—an organization is purposely designed and grounded neither on the psychological nature of human beings nor in biological necessity. Yet, while a human creation, it is meant to endure—not perhaps forever, but for a considerable period of time.”

Drucker, Peter F.
“The simplest organizational structure that will do the job is the best one. What makes the organizational structure “good” are the problems it doesn't create. The simpler the structure, the less that can go wrong.”

Euster, Joanne R. et al.
“I have long believed that there is no ideal library organization, and that a finite number of possible permutations exists, each with the potential to be effective in a given situation.”

Howard, Robert
“[Functional Bureaucracy] breed dependence and passivity. In a functional organization, there is natural tendency for conflicts to get kicked upstairs. People get too accustomed to sitting on their hands and waiting for a decision to come down fro above. Well, sometimes the decision does come down. But sometimes it doesn't, and even when it does, often it comes too late, because market conditions have already changed or more nimble competitor has gotten there first. Or maybe the decision is simply wrong—because the person making it is too far from the costumer.”

Handy, Charles
“Organizations used to be perceived as gigantic pieces of engineering with largely interchangeable human parts. We talked to their structure sand their systems, of inputs and outputs, off control devices and managing them, as if the whole was large factory. Today the language is not that of engineering but of politics with talk of cultures and networks, and teams and coalitions, of influence and power rather than control, of leadership not management.”

Jacques, Eliot
“The hierarchical kind of organization we call bureaucracy did not emerge accidentally. It is the only form of organization that can enable a company to employ a large number of people and yet preserve unambiguous accountability for the work they do. And that is why, despite all ist problem, it has a doggedly persisted.”

Kolodney, Harvey F.
“This is the world in which there are many more choices about organizational alternatives (forms) than there have been in the recent past. It is also a world in which technological alternatives are many and the variations proliferating. It is probably going to require some form of “organization design skill” to achieve a good fit between the organizational and technical alternatives available.”

Johansen, Robert and Swigart, Rob
“Business organization are changing, whether they want to or not. The changes are chaotic—the experience from inside or close to a large corporation, as well as the feeling inside your stomach. The pyramids of cooperate strength have flattened into a web of organizational ambiguity. Individual employees no longer have a sturdy structure to climb. Instead, planning a career is more like crawling out on a webbing of rope, grasping for stability that comes and goes quickly.”

Johansen, Robert and Swigart, Rob
“Organization are made up of living people and processes, not things. Their survival depends on how the respond to changes in the external environment. Flexibility is essential. Rigid structures do not survive major turbulence.”

Kilmann, R. H.
“The organization itself has an invisible quality—a certain style, a character a way of doing things—that may be more powerful that the dictates of any one person or any formal system. To understand the soul of the organization requires that we travel below the charts, rule books, machines, and buildings into the underground world of corporate cultures.”

Lawler III, Edward E.
“By now you may be asking, what is the right number of levels of management for an organization? How many individuals should report to a single manager? Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to these questions...I have seen some managers work effectively with a hundred individuals reporting to them, and I have seen others for whom twenty is too many. The correct number has a great deal to do with a manager's skills, the complexity of the work, and organization's ability to develop self-managing teams.”

Lawler III, Edward E.
“In order to be successful, organizations must have capabilities that allow them to coordinate and focus behavior in ways that are tuned to the marketplace and produce high levels of performance—ways that differentiate them from their competitors. Every organization must understand what capabilities it needs to compete...and then develop them by creating the appropriate organizational designs and management system.”

McClure, Charles R
“Regardless of formal position in the organization, the librarian is an information processor—not only in the provision of services to the patrons but also as a decision-maker in the operation of the library. It is this second role of information processor to which attention must be drawn, for it is in this role that the librarian affects the decisions being made in the organization.”

Mintzberg, Henry
“Finally, the most complex organization engage sophisticated specialist, especially in their support staffs, and require them to combine their efforts in project teams coordinated by mutual adjustment. This results in the adhocracy configuration, in which line and staff as well as the number of other distinctions tend to break down.”

Mintzberg, Henry
“Organizations don't have tops and bottoms. These are just misguided metaphors. What organizations really have are the outer people, connected to the world, and the inner ones, disconnected from it as well as so many so-called middle managers, who are desperately trying to connect the inner and outer people to each other.”

Naisbitt, John and Aburdene, Patricia
“The computer is smashing the pyramid. The technology of the computer is doing the kinds of jobs that middle managers used to do. Cuts in middle management have ranged from a low of 10 percent to a high of 40 percent. Corporations are experimenting with new structures to replace the structures that used to house middle management.”

Pearson, Andrall E.
“Finally, the best GMs [general managers] use staff people well and expect them to make positive contributions, not to nitpick or ”gotcha”. They appoint strong functional leaders (not line-manager rejects, politicians, or tired old pros) who can provide innovative, idea-driven leadership (not just ask good questions) and can transfer ideas across the organization. As a result, line managers respect and use the staff instead of writing unfriendly memos or playing unproductive political games.”

Peters, Thomas J. and Waterman Jr.,Robert H.
“Along with bigness comes complexity, unfortunately. And most big companies respond to complexity in kind, by designing complex systems and structures. They then hire more staff to keep track of all this complexity and that's where the mistake begins. The solution doesn't go well with the nature of people in an organization, in which things need to be kept reasonably simple if the unit is truly pull together.”

Peters, Tom and Austin, Nancy
“The prime benefits of flat organizations are what we call their “self-defense” properties That is, none of us is smart enough to keep our hands out of our subordinates' business. But if the span is wide (at least twice as wide as you think wise is a good rule of thumb), then you simply don't have enough hours to interfere, though most of us try desperately to do so at first. Flat structure, in a word, automatically breeds ownership, whether you like it or not.”

Shapiro, Benson P.
“People are anxious about organizational structure because it defines their position, and in fact, has a large impact on their power and privileges. The issue thus becomes highly political, with each person typically supporting the structure that most benefits him or her...The stakes in structuring decisions have been particularly high in the past because restructuring was relatively infrequent. People feared they would be placed in a permanent, or close to permanent position. Lately, as companies more frequently restructure in response to more rapid environmental and strategic change, the stakes seem lower, the battles less intense, and companies somewhat more supple organizationally.”

Wilson, Andrew
“In the initial shock of adjusting to sharply increased competition, the fat and happy must learn to become lean and mean. Across the length and breadth of the U.S. industrial sector, increased import penetration...sparked in all-out war on costs. After three decades of almost uninterrupted growth in revenues, profits and employment, U.S. Industrial firms—en masse—were forced to bite the bullet of downsizing and restructuring.”

Veaner, Allen B.
“Delegation without authority is empty. Before delegating, think carefully whether you are willing to permit work to be done without your direct oversight or review. Too much review, especially of professionals, breeds apathy, dependency, and passive resistance, and destroys motivation.”

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