Say farewell to the divine right of management

 

  中文标题:别了,神圣的管理权

托马斯•马龙(Thomas Malone)原本是心理学家,却半路出家当上了管理教授。他属于那种语不惊人死不休的人。在他看来,企业界正处在"深刻而可预见的变化"之巅峰,这一变化"的重要性不亚于**之如政府。"

You cannot fault Thomas Malone for lack of ambition. In The Future of Work, the psychologist-turned-management-professor declares that the corporate world is on the cusp of a "fundamental and predictable change" that may be "as important to business as the shift to democracy has been to government".


Say farewell to the divine right of management

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  中文标题:别了,神圣的管理权

托马斯•马龙(Thomas Malone)原本是心理学家,却半路出家当上了管理教授。他属于那种语不惊人死不休的人。在他看来,企业界正处在"深刻而可预见的变化"之巅峰,这一变化"的重要性不亚于**之如政府。"

You cannot fault Thomas Malone for lack of ambition. In The Future of Work, the psychologist-turned-management-professor declares that the corporate world is on the cusp of a "fundamental and predictable change" that may be "as important to business as the shift to democracy has been to government".

他宣称,以僵化的层级关系为基础的企业将进入历史的垃圾堆。在以分权型组织为特色的未来新世界,经理人要学习如何培育、如何协调,而不是如何命令、如何控制。

He claims that companies based on rigid hierarchy will be consigned to the dustbin of history. In the brave new world of decentralised organisations, managers will have to learn to cultivate and co-ordinate, rather than command and control.

马龙教授在美国麻省理工学院的斯隆商学院任教,所教科目从领导学到信息技术,五花八门。他并不是第一个呼吁企业分权的人。

Prof Malone, who teaches everything from leadership to information technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, is not the first to argue for decentralisation.

罗素•艾可夫(Russell Ackoff)的《**型企业》(The Democratic Corporation, 1994年版)和詹姆斯•布赖恩•奎因(James Brian Quinn)的《智能型企业》(Intelligent Enterprise, 1992)等著作都曾倡导极端分权型的组织。

Russell Ackoff's The Democratic Corporation (1994) and James Brian Quinn's Intelligent Enterprise (1992) are among the books that have advanced the case for radically decentralised organisations.

大量证据证明,如果组织鼓励其成员发挥主动意识和承诺精神,而不只惟命是从,组织的绩效则会得到提升。

A large body of evidence attests to the fact that organisational performance improves when members are invited to offer initiative and commitment, not just compliance.

但本书所提的论点更独特,也更宏观。分权型组织不仅更有效率,它们本身也是技术进步的必然结果。历史性因素在发挥着作用。

But the argument offered here is uniquely grand. Not only are decentralised organisations more efficient, they are also the inevitable consequence of technological progress. Deep historical forces are at work.

马龙指出,在古代,我们的祖先打猎为生,形成群居的小群体,彼此间的社会关系紧密,决策过程中人人平等。距离遥远的时候,沟通成本高昂,此时小群体是社会组织唯一可行的形式。

In the beginning, says Malone, our ancestors lived as small groups of hunter-gatherers, enjoying close-knit social bonds and egalitarian decision-making. The high cost of communication over large distances meant that small groups were the only feasible form of social organisation.

及至农业社会,人们居住的距离更近,书写也开始出现,这些突破大幅度降低了沟通的成本,其直接的结果就是产生了更大更复杂的社会组织。

Then came agriculture, which allowed people to settle in closer proximity to one another, and writing. These breakthroughs led to a significant fall in the cost of communication and, as a direct result, bigger and more complex social organisations.

因此,部落和王国替代了狩猎群体,此时就有了严格的上下级关系,而我们的祖先却欣然接受,因为这种新型的组织结构自有它好的一面,比如能为成员提供军事保护。

Thus tribes and kingdoms replaced hunter-gathering bands. Our ancestors were happy to put up with rigid hierarchy because these new structures offered benefits such as military protection.

然后,1450年左右出现了古腾贝格(Gutenberg)活字印刷,再一次大幅度降低了沟通成本。

Then, circa 1450, Gutenberg's moveable-type printing press led to another steep drop in communication costs.

该成就促成了**的兴起。**制度带来了规模化的经济和安全利益,又削减了让人厌烦的层级关系。

In time, this enabled the rise of democracy, which offers all the economic and security benefits of scale but with less of the tiresome hierarchy.

就这样,马龙用了区区10页的篇幅,就说尽了一万两千年的社会经济演变史。

And so, in 10 pages, does Malone explain 12,000 years of socio-economic evolution.

接下来的发展不言自明,无需猜测:企业将经历类似的转变。信息技术将让企业走出其封建阶段。别了,神圣的管理权。

No prizes for guessing what comes next: companies are about to undergo a similar transformation. Information technology will enable them to evolve beyond the feudal stage. Say farewell to the divine right of management.

此论调隐约让人想起芝加哥学派的伟大经济学家罗纳德•科斯(Ronald Coase)。科斯用交易成本经济学解释企业的边界。

There are faint echoes here of Ronald Coase, the great Chicago School economist who used transaction cost economics to explain the boundaries of the corporation.

科斯指出,大体上说,如果内部完成任务比承包给第三方便宜,企业就会选择内部完成。这一计算方式说明,市场的终点乃是企业的起点。

Coase said, more or less, that companies perform tasks internally if it is cheaper than contracting third parties to do so. This calculation explains where markets stop and companies begin.

但与科斯不同的是,马龙的侧重点不是交易成本而是沟通成本。此外,他的兴趣不仅仅在于企业的边界,还包括组织的内部结构。

Unlike Coase, however, Malone focuses not on transaction costs but on communication costs. In addition, he is interested not only in corporate boundaries but also the internal structure of organisations.

马龙并不能准确预知企业从此以后的发展路径。值得肯定的是,他并没有假装知道。

To be fair, Malone does not pretend to know exactly how companies will evolve from here.

《未来工作》的大部分篇幅是不同组织试验新型管理技巧和结构的范例。

The majority of The Future of Work is taken up with examples of organisations that are experimenting with new management techniques and structure.

书中自然也提到了开放源代码的计算机操作系统Linux背后松散的程序员组织。

Inevitably, the loose hierarchy of programmers behind Linux, the open source computer operating system, is cited.

书中还说到了英国石油公司(BP),谈到该公司试图创建内部油气交易市场,"将外部市场引进来。"另外一个例子,是eBay的准**化监管结构。

Also present here is BP's attempt to "bring markets inside" by creating an internal market for emissions trading, and the quasi-democratic governance structure of eBay.

书中还专门讨论了"业务流程外包","可互换式组织的总体流程设计,"以及"业务流程的深层结构。"

There are also sections on "business process outsourcing", "process architectures for interchangeable organisations" and "the deep structure of business processes".

为什么作者对流程如此着迷?任何企业,如果离开了层级,剩下来的就只有流程了,或曰工作流。书中说,在扁平化、分权型的未来组织,流程的配置与再造将成为竞争优势的重要来源。

Why is there this obsession with process? Strip any company of hierarchy and you are left with nothing but processes - the flow of work. In the flat, decentralised organisations of the future, it is argued, the ability to configure and reconfigure processes will be an important source of competitive advantage.

同样,马龙的这些说法也不新鲜。盖瑞•哈默尔(Gary Hamel)在其《领导革命》(Leading the Revolution, 2000年版)一书中就呼吁企业建立内部创意、资金和人才的市场。

Again, Malone is not the first to make these points. Gary Hamel's Leading the Revolution (2000) called on companies to create internal markets for ideas, capital and talent.

关于技术如何促进松散化"流程网络"的话题,如需了解详尽的论述,应该去看约翰•哈格尔(John Hagel)的《即买即用》(Out of the Box,2002年版)。

Anyone in search of an exhaustive treatment of the role of technology in enabling loose "process networks", should turn to John Hagel's Out Of The Box (2002).

尽管如此,《未来工作》(The Future of Work)一著是对分权化管理试验的一个广泛调查,书中有大量创见。即便不看作者的宏大历史分析,我们也会承认,不错,很有理由要朝他说的方向发展。

Still, as a broad survey of experiments in decentralised management, The Future of Work is packed with ideas. You do not need to accept the grand historical analysis to see that, yes, there are good reasons for moving in this direction.

译者/柏林

  来源:金融时报

发表于: 2005-03-02 23:08 肖利华 阅读(1490) 评论(1) 收藏 好文推荐

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