This book is a second edition, of what was described as being a ‘novel way’ of looking at organisations. The main focus of this book is on ‘organising the activities and processes of doing things in organisations’, and this is achieved by ‘highlighting the experiences of those people who know and understand organisations’. Therefore, the authors address the processes and activities that are present within organisations rather than discussing the organisation as one single entity.
The layout of the book is rather unusual, in the sense that it does not read like a ‘normal’ textbook. Instead the reader is invited to ‘move from section to section’ in any order they wish, once they have read the initial introduction. This idea encourages the reader, as they do not have to have read any of the previous chapters in order to read one of interest to them. However, references are made to other chapters where appropriate. At the end of the book, is a thesaurus, which enables the reader to delve deeper into terms that have been mentioned within the main body of the book. It is at this point, that related theories and concepts are discussed, for each of the terms mentioned.
The reader is encouraged to think of the introduction, main body and thesaurus as a wheel. The authors describe the introduction and conclusion as the centre of the wheel, the remaining chapters as the spokes, and the thesaurus as the rim. This proposal enables the readers to understand the way in which, the authors intended for the book to be read. The chapters are split into the following headings: entering and leaving, rules are rules, dealing & double dealing, morals, greening, it’s not my problem, learning the ropes, machines ; mechanising, leading ; following, judging others, feelings, sex, serious joking, us ; them, managing differences ; diversity, career-ing, producing ; consuming, working ; living, and learning ; organising in uncertain times.
All or most of the chapters consist of a description of the topic with real life examples, a bullet point summary, a list of terms from the chapter that can be found in the thesaurus, and a section called ‘reading on’, which can be useful for further people wanting further information on the aspects that have been discussed in the chapter. It is suggested that the introduction and conclusion should be seen as a centre point for the book, however, there is no overall conclusion.
The introduction, however, begins, as in many textbooks, discussing what an organisation is. The analogy of a river is used, to explain why something that looks so tranquil and calm to onlookers, can be a totally different experience to those within it. This, they suggest, is what they are attempting to explain – the experiences of those within the river / organisation. Further details are given of the process of organising, and the ways in which this would affect and influence the overall organisation.
The second chapter discusses the processes of entering and leaving an organisation, which, having worked in many organisations, appears to have enormous face value. The descriptions of both processes are very general, but are likely to be relevant for people within many organisations. Politics are introduced here, and it seems that the authors are against the idea that politics can be so influential in the world of business and organisations.
The next chapter is titled ‘rules are rules’, and it discusses the types of rules that are made within organisations, and the reason they are made. Bending the rules is also discussed, and it is suggested that even with their ability to organise, rules can have a negative affect on the organisation. It proposes that the way of thinking about rules has to change. This is a good example of how organisations change, and it is clearly illustrated in this chapter.
‘Dealing and double-dealing’, re-introduces politics as a big influence within organisations. It focuses on the conflicts within organisations which may involve game playing, which may be part of bettering the organisation (planned), or more ‘under the table’ negative conflicts. It suggests that ‘many of the deals within organisations are about resource allocation’, and can be good for the organisation and the politics do not have to involve ‘destruction’. However, this chapter does not cover enough of a range of topics which may cause ‘games’ within organisations.
A large emphasis is placed on morals, throughout the book, but there is also a chapter dedicated to this subject. There is a description of how normally-moral people, can arrive at work and ignore all of their personal beliefs. Organisational morals are also discussed, particularly the way that they are portrayed, the results of breaking morals, and the results of ‘blowing the whistle’ on the organisation in relation to immoral acts. This emphasises that organisations can change the morals of its members, depending on its ethics and objectives. This is not something that would be discussed in a traditional textbook, however, this chapter proves the importance of such an issue.
‘Greening’ is a chapter dedicated to environmental issues. It points out the effects of organisational behaviour on the environment, and different steps that are or are not taken by organisations to help preserve the environment and limit damage. This is an area of organisational process that is often overlooked, so this chapter makes for interesting reading. It provides a good insight into different opinions on ‘saving the environment’.