Sisyphus in Management: The Futile Search for the Optimal Organizational Structure
On the one hand, employees are supposed to compete with one another as “intrapreneurs,” on the other, cooperation among employees is a top priority. The motto is: we are all pulling together but only the best will prevail. On the one hand, “intrapreneurs” are supposed to break the rules that have been handed down from above, yet at the same time they are supposed to respect the structures the company has created. The motto is: do the right thing, but be sure not to break any written or unwritten laws. On the one hand, there needs to be enough room for flexible and creative lateral thinkers to maneuver, while on the other the organization’s resources should be used as effectively as possible. The motto is: be unorthodox, just don’t interfere with the standardization process which is taking place in the name of efficiency.
This book explains why attempting to reconcile these contradictions is futile. The often praised Holy Grail of organization, the perfectly functioning company, will never be found. Drawing on central management topics such as hierarchy, markets, group work, quality, mission statements, and reorganization, Stefan Kühl elaborates the paradoxes of modern management and points out the undesirable side effects that arise as a result of striving to achieve optimal organizational structure. Sisyphus in Management shows that organizational realities often form—as if by an invisible hand—that lie beyond the intentions of management. Nevertheless, this does not mean that management is acting arbitrarily. On the contrary, the potential and limitations of managerial action can only be demonstrated through an understanding of organizations that goes beyond recipe books and PowerPoint presentations.