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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.
 
Global business
Episode 9: Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  Listen to the radio programme in full
  Download the complete script (pdf)
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Highlights:

Rosabeth goes into leading-edge corporations, learns from them and then serves up what she's learnt in nicely digestible messages for the rest of us.

Her early work looked at the communes of the 1960's and the social movement that brought them into existence, and the book she wrote about it, called "The Men and Women of the Corporation", had a big impact.

The new model organization, she notes, is lean, flat and athletic, rather than tall and authoritarian.

It's the job of the people at the top, Kanter says, to set the goals and values of the corporation, below them the middle layers design and manage the programmes and the systems, the forums and relationships that bind the whole together, while the project ideas and innovations hopefully bubble up from the bottom layers.

Her latest book e-Volve, draws together the best ideas of the best companies. The Internet, she says, could produce a great leap forward to a shared consciousness around the world and connect peoples everywhere. The best businesses in the digital world, she says, will be those that foster community internally and serve communities externally.

Rosabeth, of course, ends with a list of the qualities needed by business managers if they are to succeed in the new world of digital commerce:

- curiosity and imagination
- good communication skills, near and far
- cosmopolitan mindset, not confined to a single world view
- grasping complexity, finding the connections
- caring about feeding peoples' bodies and spirits

Our next guru also worries about that, but he starts from the technology end. He is Bill Gates, author, prophet and, of course, a hugely successful entrepreneur and leader.

Read Rosabeth Moss Kanter's biography

Some useful business words:

serves up
delivers, offers

communes
groups of people who live and work together as a team

big impact
had a powerful influence

bubble up
originate

great leap forward
a big result or development

shared consciousness
shared ideas, feelings, opinions

foster

help to grow or develop

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