The world is full of organisational cynics. Look around. Heck, look in the mirror. We sit in our cubes, adjust our chairs, sharpen our pencils and stare at our computer screens with the sense that we're immersed in dysfunction. We could, we're sure, do a far better job of running things if we were given the chance. But we know we won't get the chance and so sink into doubt, distrust, and pessimism.
Why do members of Al Qaeda have to submit travel and expense reports?
How do you create incentives for policemen, or priests?
What are managers good for?
We create organisations because they are an efficient way of doing something we couldn't do alone. We join organisations because we are inspired by their mission, or their payslip. But once we're inside, these organisations rarely feel efficient or inspiring.
In The Org, Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan explain the trade-offs that every organisation makes, arguing that this everyday dysfunction is in fact actually inherent in the very nature of orgs. Woven throughout The Org are fascinating stories of organisations ranging from Google and McDonald's, to Al Qaeda and the island nation of Samoa.
The Org tells us how the office really works. As such it is required reading for anyone who wants to come to terms with the frustrations of their workplace, or to work their way up the org.