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The Org Stands By the Status Quo for Business Management

The Org argues that companies are pretty good just the way they are. Seriously
Night view of workers in an office building in the financial district in
New York City

Night view of workers in an office building in the financial district in New York City Photograph by Cameron Davidson/Corbis

Most business management books promise something new and radical. “You’ve been doing it all wrong!” they cry, and then propose solutions that will “revolutionize,” “radicalize,” and “disrupt” your business to greatness. They spout fortune-cookie counter­intuition like “manage down!” or “the best meeting is no meeting!” Over time, of course, this approach ossifies into little more than a several-hundred-page-long Mad Lib, a series of fill-in-the-blank treatises. Whatever the conventional wisdom is, invert it, select “Print,” send to a literary agent.

Into this noisy, table-overturning crowd step Ray Fisman, a professor at Columbia Business School, and Tim ­Sullivan, the editorial director of ­Harvard Business Review Press. Their new book, The Org: The Under­lying Logic of the Office, is a voice of ­reasoned ­analysis amid the airport bookstore barkers.