Is your organisation healthy enough to survive and operate effectively? Popular organisational health checks generally focus on a company’s financial status and its ability to compete in the market. In the human body, healthy functioning of all the organs comes before addressing competitive fitness, and this should also be the case with organisations.
This book accepts the similarity between the functioning of living organisms and organisations as proposed by functionalists. This allows the adoption of a holistic diagnostic model, as used by medical practitioners, in order to determine an overall perspective of the state of health of an organisation. The model explores and diagnoses the functional categories of Survival, Protection, Operations, Information, Language and Strategy (SPOILS), before combining the health prognosis with fitness programmes. A single case study, based on an actual business, demonstrates the usage of the diagnostic model throughout the book and forms a link bringing the functions together.
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“The idea of a science of organisation is not a new one, but there are very few examples of it being taken very seriously. In this very interesting book, Cecilia Dean shows us how it might be possible by applying ideas from physiology to the problems faced by management. Treating organisations as if they were biological systems provides some very real and important insights. This is a book to be recommended to anyone who wants to understand how organisations fail, and how they might work better. ”Professor Martin Parker, University of Leicester“The use of the physiology of the human body, as a complex system of systems, in a real time complex environment, provides a means to contextualising the abstractedness of the complex business domain within the familiarity of well known, even intuitive, features and experiences. In this way I have enjoyed the physiological approach, and the attendant thinking framework that has been amply supported by realistic case studies, as a real contribution to the analysis and visualisation of this complex domain.”Adriaan Vorster, Management Consultant“The book offers a very original perspective, using the medical practitioner’s diagnostic model to determine the status of health of an organisation. It could potentially attract a broad audience of readers: entrepreneurs, managers, consultants, students and academics from a large spectrum of industry and background. The SPOILS model is a great concept, very memorable and the demonstration flow is clear. The conclusion that it is essential for organisations to undertake regular complete health checks before committing to over-ambitious competitive goals and strategies is a key point as can be illustrated by a few companies who failed because they have forgotten this principle. ”Emmanuel Carraud, Entrepreneur and CEO“I like the linkage to the functions of the human body. It certainly makes me consider my three teams in a different way and how it’s not necessarily the type/amount of work but the personal qualities and suitability of each individual to perform specific roles and their understanding how every aspect of an organisation fits together and is pivotal to healthy working practices. I thought the inserts were very good and I found these a useful aide memoire.”Helen Gilroy, Heathcare Manager
Dr C. M. Dean has over 25 years’ experience in senior management and consultancy positions in large organisations, including IBM, Aviva and KPMG, as well as in training and tutoring Management and Business School students at various institutions. She is currently a director of a private consultancy company. The SPOILS model is a logical follow-on from her PhD research project, which was published in 2012 under the title Physiology of Organisations: An Integrated Functional Perspective by Cambridge Scholars Publishing (UK).