Thursday, January 17, 2008

Review at by Charles Ashbacher

Read it because corporations do indeed "have personality", November 5, 2007
By (Marion, Iowa United States( -

The claim that a corporation has a soul is one that many commentators and capitalist watchers will consider absurd to the point of stupidity. In their minds, a corporation is a callous non-entity, given legal rights but existing only to further its' own economic advancement by whatever means. While true to a large extent, the cynical exploitative actions of the leaders of Enron are the prime example; many corporations do have a collective identity with a moral compass. It is the expression of that moral compass that is the purpose of this book. Many founders of corporate organizations did so because they truly had a vision for what they wanted to do, and that vision was positive. Corporations have been formed where the goal was to heal the sick, produce food that was cheap enough so that formerly hungry people could eat and to make other positive changes in the world that would benefit all. The early workers joined those companies believing that what they were doing mattered more than simply bringing home a paycheck where the numbers were bigger than they could get elsewhere. This book is about those companies and others where there is a common and somewhat noble purpose to what the company does. It is also about the collective personality that a company can take on early and over time and how new blood can come in and believe that they can change it into something that it has not been before. While the new management sometimes is able to make the changes, in many cases they find that the end result is early success and then a greater disaster than if they had never set foot in the door. The authors refer to the collective soul of a company as I*Dimension, and they list several case histories where they describe the I*Dimension of a particular company and how that feature has successfully been altered by persons or altered those who tried to alter it. In their hands, it is not some mystical entity, hard to define but easy to "see." As the authors relate it, I*Dimension is the expression of a personality, which like living personalities can be a formidable force for positive or negative change. Managing that personality correctly can lead to a dynamic and growing company; but if it is mismanaged, a company can grow just as dysfunctional as the most disturbed human psyche. Crowd psychology is a well-known and heavily studied phenomenon. However, when the crowd is composed of the people who work for a corporation, much less is known. In this book, the authors trek into that unknown arena and conclude that distinct personalities can emerge. Those personalities must be understood and managed if that company is to succeed and reading this book is the first step on that route.