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.

Dealing with the Conflicting Needs for Change, Efficiency, Flexibility, and Employee Commitment
Dealing with the conflicting needs for change, efficiency, flexibility, and employee commitment

Technologies advance, products change, markets change, firms change to survive. The changes firms make generally affect productivity. They always affect employees.

In 1986, IBM employed 406,542 people. By 1994, it employed only 219,839. A 46% drop in its workforce is a momentous event for any firm, and was especially momentous for such a large firm.a Of perhaps more significance than this percentage change was the absolute magnitude of the downsizing— in 1986, only six U.S. firms employed more people than the 186,703 people that IBM shed in those 8 years.

In 1994, IBM began to ramp up again. By 2000, 6 years after the ...

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