The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth

Book cover for The Modern Firm

The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth

Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004

Business firms around the world are experimenting with new organizational designs, changing their formal architectures, their routines and processes, and their corporate cultures as they seek to improve their current performance and their growth prospects. In the process, they are changing the scope of their business operations, redrawing their organization charts, redefining the allocation of decision-making authority and responsibility, revamping the mechanisms for motivating and rewarding people, reconsidering which activities to conduct in-house and which to out-source, redesigning their information systems, and seeking to alter the shared beliefs, values and norms that their people hold. In this book, John Roberts argues that there are predictable, necessary relationships among these changes that will improve performance and growth. The organizations that are successful will establish patterns of fit among the elements of their organizational designs, their competitive strategies and the external environment in which they operate and will go about this in a holistic manner. The Modern Firm develops powerful conceptual frameworks for analyzing the interrelations between organizational design features, competitive strategy and the business environment. Written in a non-technical language, the book is nevertheless based on rigorous modeling and draws on numerous examples from the eighteenth century fur trading companies to such modern firms such as BP and Nokia. Finally, the book explores why these developments are happening now, pointing to the increase in global competition and changes in technology. Written by one of the world’s leading economists and experts on business strategy and organization, The Modern Firm provides new insights into the changes going on in business today and will be of interest to academics, students and managers alike.

Selected Editorial Reviews
Best business book of the year...deserves to be a classic... Nobody, it can now be said, is fully fit to run a modern firm until they have read The Modern Firm.
The Economist
I am aware of no book that does a better job of integrating rigorous economic reasoning with a rich understanding of how firms operate. Economists, sociologists, organization and strategy scholars, as well as practicing managers, can all learn from the insights on strategy and organization contained in this very fine book
Joel Podolny, Dean of Yale School of Management
[This] is a book for people looking for a deeper understanding of the modern firm --and enjoying the experience. As one of the world's foremost experts on economics and management, Roberts writes in an engaging style that makes the new ideas readily accessible to a wider business audience.
Bengt Holmström, Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics, MIT
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