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A Working Families' Agenda for America

Many American families have not prospered in the new "knowledge economy." The layoffs, restructurings, and wage and benefit cuts that have followed the short-lived boom of the 1990s threaten our deeply held values of justice, fairness, family, and work. These values -- and not those superficial ones political pollsters ask about -- are the foundation of the American dream of good jobs, fair pay, and opportunities for all. In this call to action for families, business, labor, and government, Thomas Kochan outlines ways in which we can empower working families to earn a good living by doing satisfying work while still having time for family and community life.We cannot make the transition to a knowledge economy, writes Kochan, with a workforce that is stressed, frustrated, and insecure. Businesses need to rebuild relationships with their employees based on trust. And working families need to take control of their own destinies.First, we can take action that goes beyond the workplace buzzwords flexible and family friendly to design systems that support productive work and healthy family life. We can invest in better basic education and life-long learning, and we can work toward strategies for creating and sustaining good jobs with portable benefits. We need organizations that value investors of human capital -- their employees -- as highly as they do investors of financial capital, and we need a renewed labor movement to give workers a stronger voice. Kochan lays out an agenda for working families in the twenty-first century that calls for business, labor, government, and workers to come together to make the changes that will allow us all to benefit from the new economy. The solution to our problems, he points out, is too important to be left to "the market."

Stories and Strategies of Radical Innovation

Since the late 1990s, technology markets have declined dramatically. Responding to the changing business climate, companies use strategies of open innovation: acquiring technologies from outside, marketing their technologies to other companies, and outsourcing manufacturing. But open innovation is not enough; it is mainly a way to run a business to its endgame. By itself, open innovation results in razor-thin profits from products that compete as commodities. Businesses also need a path to renewal. No one ever achieved a breakthrough with open innovation.

Our capacity for creating breakthroughs depends on a combination of science, imagination, and business; the next great waves of innovation will come from organizations that get this combination right. During periods of rapid economic growth, companies and investors focus on the short term and forget where breakthroughs come from. Without appropriate engagement and reinvestment, the innovation ecology breaks down. Today, universities, technology companies, government funding agencies, venture capitalists, and corporate research laboratories need to foster the conditions in which breakthroughs arise.

In Breakthrough, Mark and Barbara Stefik show us how innovation works. Drawing on stories from repeat inventors and managers of technology, they uncover the best practices for inventing the future. This book is for readers who want to know how inventors do their work, how people become inventors, and how businesses can create powerful cultures of innovation.

Reconnecting Customer and Value Chain through Build-to-Order Moving beyond Mass and Lean Production in the Auto Industry

As the auto industry moves into its second century, it suffers from low margins and a sclerotic value chain that cannot evolve with customer desires. Inventories of many weeks pile up on dealer lots and at distribution centers around the world while executives applaud marginal improvements in factory efficiency.

Value streams based on Henry Ford's mass-production model from the early 1900s do not deliver the strategic flexibility that is needed in today's increasingly competitive and demanding market. With billions of potential product variations, customers still compromise by selecting from a limited number of products sitting at dealerships or at distribution centers. Those customers who dare insist on a specific variation not only wait weeks but also pay extra for the privilege of telling vehicle manufacturers what they actually want.

In The Second Century, Matthias Holweg and Frits Pil provide a comprehensive look at today's dysfunctional value-chain strategies, then systematically discuss the changes in products and in processes that are needed to bring about responsiveness to customer needs through build-to-order. They look beyond the dealer, the factory and the design studio to examine the web of relationships and dynamics that have brought the auto industry to its current low point.

Holweg and Pil argue that in this century the winners will not be those firms that search for larger and larger scale or those who run efficient factories, or those that squeeze the last drop of profitability from their suppliers. The winners, they say, will be those who build products as if customers mattered.

Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) was the first efficiency expert, the original time-and-motion man—the father of scientific management, the inventor of a system that became known, inevitably enough, as Taylorism. "In the past the man has been first. In the future the System will be first," he predicted boldly, and accurately. Taylor bequeathed to us, writes Robert Kanigel in this definitive biography, a clockwork world of tasks timed to the hundredth of a minute. Taylor helped instill in us the obsession with time, order, productivity, and efficiency that marks our age. His influence can be seen in factories, schools, offices, hospitals, libraries, even kitchen design. At the peak of his celebrity in the early twentieth century, Taylor gave lectures around the country and was as famous as Edison or Ford. To organized labor, he was a slave driver; to the bosses, he was an eccentric and a radical. To himself, he was a misunderstood visionary whose "one best way" would bring prosperity to worker and boss alike. Robert Kanigel's compelling chronicle takes Taylor from privileged Philadelphia childhood to factory floor to international fame, telling the story of a paradigmatic American figure whose influence would be felt from the New Deal to Soviet Russia and remains pervasive—even insidious—today.

The Business of Global Environmental Governance takes a political economy approach to understanding the role of business in global environmental politics. The book's contributors—from a range of disciplines including international political economy, management, and political science—view the evolution of international environmental governance as a dynamic interplay of economic structures, business strategies, and political processes. By providing comparative insights to the responses of business to major international environmental issues, the book illuminates the ways business activity shapes and is shaped by global environmental policies. It moves beyond the usual emphasis on state actors and formal regimes, instead focusing on empirical and theoretical contributions that examine the reciprocal relationship between corporate strategy and international environmental governance.

After developing a theoretical framework for understanding the role of business in environmental governance, the book provides empirical studies of business strategies across a range of cases, from formal regimes to combat climate change and ozone depletion to more informal and private regimes for tropical logging and the ISO 14000 environmental management standards. These case studies demonstrate the key roles of business, markets, and private actors in shaping international environmental institutions and constructing new forms of governance.

Edited by Bruce Kogut

By 2002, all but a handful of countries were connected to the Internet. The intertwining of the Internet and the globalization of finance, corporate governance, and trade raises questions about national models of technology development and property rights. The sudden ability of hundreds of millions of users to gain access to a global communication infrastructure spurred the creation of new firms and economic opportunities. The Internet challenged existing institutions and powerful interests: Technology was global, but its economic and business development was molded in the context of prevailing national institutions.

Comparing the experiences of seven countries—France, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, and the United States—this book analyzes the rise of the Internet and its impact on changing national institutions. Each country chapter describes how the Internet developed, evaluates the extent to which the Silicon Valley model was adopted, and suggests why certain sectors and technologies developed faster than others. The book also analyzes specific Internet sectors and regulations across countries. It shows that the Internet's effects are more evolutionary than revolutionary. At the same time, the impact of broad cultural change on entrepreneurial aspirations is clearly visible in certain nations, especially India and Sweden.

The Economics of Innovation and Corporate Strategy

The past two decades have seen a gradual but noticeable change in the economic organization of innovative activity. Most firms used to integrate research and development with activities such as production, marketing, and distribution. Today firms are forming joint ventures, research and development alliances, licensing deals, and a variety of other outsourcing arrangements with universities, technology-based start-ups, and other established firms. In many industries, a division of innovative labor is emerging, with a substantial increase in the licensing of existing and prospective technologies. In short, technology and knowledge are becoming definable and tradable commodities.

Although researchers have made significant advances in understanding the determinants and consequences of innovation, until recently they have paid little attention to how innovation functions as an economic process. This book examines the nature and workings of markets for intermediate technological inputs. It looks first at how industry structure, the nature of knowledge, and intellectual property rights facilitate the development of technology markets. It then examines the impacts of these markets on firm boundaries, the division of labor within the economy, industry structure, and economic growth. Finally, it examines the implications of this framework for public policy and corporate strategy. Combining theoretical perspectives from economics and management with empirical analysis, the book also draws on historical evidence and case studies to flesh out its research results.

Models, Methods, and Systems

This book offers a comprehensive introduction to workflow management, the management of business processes with information technology. By defining, analyzing, and redesigning an organization?s resources and operations, workflow management systems ensure that the right information reaches the right person or computer application at the right time. The book provides a basic overview of workflow terminology and organization, as well as detailed coverage of workflow modeling with Petri nets. Because Petri nets make definitions easier to understand for nonexperts, they facilitate communication between designers and users. The book includes a chapter of case studies, review exercises, and a glossary. A special Web site developed by the authors,, features animation, interactive examples, lecture materials, exercises and solutions, relevant links, and other valuable resources for the classroom.

The Making of Alfred P. Sloan's My Years with General Motors

Published in 1964, My Years with General Motors was an immediate best-seller and today is considered one of the few classic books on management. The book is the ghostwritten memoir of Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (1875-1966), whose business and management strategies enabled General Motors to overtake Ford as the dominant American automobile manufacturer in the 1920s and 1930s.

What has been largely unknown until now is that My Years with General Motors was almost not published. Although it was written with the permission of General Motors—and slated for publication in October 1959—at the last minute General Motors tried to suppress the book out of fears that some of the material in it could become evidence in an antitrust action against the company. This book, by John McDonald, Sloan's ghostwriter, tells the behind-the-scenes story of the book's writing, its attempted suppression, and the lawsuit that eventually led to its publication. McDonald's narrative is partly the David-and-Goliath story of a lone journalist taking on the world's then-largest corporation and partly a study of strategy in its own right. McDonald's struggle to publish the book led him to navigate a complicated course among the competing interests of General Motors, Fortune magazine (his employer), and Time, Inc. (Fortune's owner). In many ways this "book about the book" parallels the Sloan book as a tale of successful, brilliantly planned strategy.

The MIT Process Handbook

The vision of the MIT Process Handbook Project is the creation of a systematic and powerful method of organizing and sharing business knowledge. Organizing Business Knowledge: The MIT Process Handbook presents the key findings of a multidisciplinary research group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management that has worked for over a decade to lay the foundation for just such a comprehensive system. It does so by focusing on the process itself. The book proposes a set of fundamental concepts to guide analysis and a classification framework for organizing knowledge, and describes the publicly available online knowledge base developed by the project, which includes a set of representative templates and specific case examples as well as a set of software tools for organizing and sharing knowledge.

Organizing Business Knowledge: The MIT Process Handbook includes twenty-one papers, some previously published and some appearing for the first time, that have come out of this decade-long project. Together, they form a comprehensive and coherent vision of the future of knowledge organization. The Handbook is organized into five parts: an introduction and overview; the presentation of a theory of process representation; "Contents of the Process Repository"; "Process Repository Uses," which gives examples from both research and practice; and a conclusion, which maps the progress so far and the challenges ahead.

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