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The Handy Guide to the Gurus of Management
Charles Handy was, for many years, a professor at the London Business School. He is now an independent writer and broadcaster. He describes himself, these days, as a social philosopher.
 
Charles Handy
Picture courtesy of Elizabeth Handy
Episode 2: Charles Handy

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Highlights:

In 1974 I made the earliest attempt to describe the different cultures or types of organizations. Every organization, I felt, is a different mix of the same four basic cultures which I represented with names of Greek Gods:

- Zeus Culture, after the powerful head of the gods, an organization dominated by the personality and power of one person, often the founder or owner.

- Apollo Culture, after the God of harmony and order, dominated by rules and procedures.

- Athena Culture, after the warrior goddess, the symbol of the project organization, the culture that dominates consultancies, advertising agencies and, increasingly, all innovative businesses.

- Dionysius Culture, in which the individual has the freedom to develop his or her own ideas in the way they want - an artists' studio, perhaps, or a university.


I started out wanting to make organizations more efficient but soon I began to worry about another problem: organizations were shrinking in their numbers and concentrating on fewer and younger full-time employees, by outsourcing or subcontracting.

Half of the working population, I suggested, would not be full-time employees by the year 2000. These people would have to develop 'portfolio' lives, a mix of different bits and pieces of work, some for money, some for fun, some for free. By the end of the century, my prediction had come true in Britain and much of Northern Europe.

The next episode looks at the work of Peter Drucker.


Read Charles Handy's biography

Some useful business words:

earliest attempt
if you attempt something or you attempt to do something, you try to do it - the earliest attempt is the first attempt in time

rules and procedures
instructions that tell you what you are allowed to do and what you are not allowed to do

innovative
person or thing which is new or makes changes

efficient
successful, working without waste of time or resources

shrinking
becoming smaller

full-time employees
persons regularly paid by a company to work all the normal working time

portfolio
a case or collection of different work

outsourcing
obtaining services from other companies or individuals rather than employing full-time members of staff to provide them

subcontracting
signing a contract with a company for them to do part of the work for a project

working population
the number of people who work

Links:
BBC World Business
Business Words in the News
Other gurus
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