The business environment is now changing rapidly, but will change even more rapidly in the future. Only firms that can respond to these changes will survive. It is important to know, then, how business’s future landscape will look. George Huber’s new book, The Necessary Nature of Future Firms, describes this landscape clearly and credibly and makes explicit the organizational attributes and management practices firms must possess to be among the ranks of the “future firms.” The Necessary Nature of Future Firms is written for managers, especially those managing change. Professionals in a wide variety of organizational roles will find it a particularly useful reference for its foresight and as an invaluable tool in winning approval for projects and initiatives. Academics in change management, information systems, organizational science, strategy, and human resources management can draw on the book as a supplementary text or as a source for lecture materials.
Organizational Learning and Knowledge Acquisition1
Organizational learning first claimed recognition as a critical organizational function during the 1990s. No one denies, however, that organizational learning has long been active in influencing organizational survival.
Consider American LaFrance, a classic example of an established, market-dominating firm that failed to survive because it failed to learn. In 1985, after 153 years of production, the last fire truck rolled off the quarter-mile-long assembly line at American LaFrance in Elmira, New York. American LaFrance once ruled its marketplace as well as any American company ever dominated a business. Why does a company like American LaFrance fail? What happened that a preeminent organization came to fall so woefully behind its competition that it could not survive?