Under New Management

Rethinking organisational design and our long-held preconceptions about management is a favourite theme on Management-Issues, so any book that sets out to challenge the accepted principles of business management is going to find an eager audience here.

Thankfully, Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual lives up to its promise. Author David Burkus, an associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University, offers a raft of examples that demonstrate just how many of the established principles of business management are outdated, outmoded and often totally counter-productive.

At the most basic level, these are things like open plan offices and annual performance reviews which seem to endure despite everyone knowing they’re counter-productive. But Burkus also explores organisational design, working patterns and management structures - flexible time off, fluid organisational structures, collective hiring and self-organising - which are still a long way from notions of ‘mainstream’ management but all of which are illustrated with real-world examples and research.

Of course, none of this will be new to those who keep abreast of management thinking. But bringing together a series of examples in an evidence-based collection will certainly make the thinking behind them more visible and accessible to those who find ideas such as self-organisation extreme or even shocking. As contribution to the effort to convince companies to ditch decades-old ‘command-and-control’ management practices and implement new ways to work, Under New Management is very welcome.