Book Reviews: Culture, Values and Ethics

The Answer to How Is Yes, by Peter Block. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
The author takes on the 'how-to' pragmatism that turns people into instruments of efficiency and commerce. His message is the need to bring personal values into an indifferent or hostile corporate and cultural world. The book's aim is to raise our awareness of the compromises often made in the name of practicality and expediency, and to offer hope for a way of life in which people are motivated not by what works but by the things that truly matter: idealism, relationship, intimacy, and engagement. Recommended. 203 pp. 2002.

Beyond Work-Family Balance: Advancing Gender Equity and Workplace Performance., by Rhonda Raporport.Lotte Bailyn.Joyce K. Fletcher and Bettye H. Pruitt. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
The book aims to provide an approach to problem identification and change to achieve an integration of work and personal life with the dual agenda of a more equitable and effective workplace. The authors provide a method designed to disclose gender assumptions that underlie practices that are both inequitable and ineffective. This approach focuses on joint inquiry and collaboration and a commitment to the organizational analysis and change. The dual agenda of serving both individual and organizational interests makes the approach unique. Commitment and competence are central to the intersection of (1) gender equity and work-personal life integration and (2) performance and organizational effectiveness. Includes a work-personal life survey and a checklist of practices and norms with equity and effectiveness implications. Highly informative and interesting. Recommended. 243 pp. 2002.

The Congruent Life: Following the Inward Path to Fulfilling Work and Inspired Leadership, by C. Michael Thompson. Jossey-Bass Inc.
Establishes a dialog between business and religion; shows an essential connection between church and enterprise. Examines the history of the separation between the spiritual and material and argues that the two must be rejoined. Proposes that leadership is based on such a life orientation rather than skills and competencies, and that good leadership is a process of growth and maturation. Presents an alternative perspective worth considering. 292 pp. 2000.

Cracking the Corporate Code: The Revealing Success Stories of 32 African-American Executives, by Price M. Cobbs and Judith L. Rurnock. AMACOM.
Corporate code is defined as the corporation's culture (shared values held consciously and unconsciously), and the thinking, feeling and actions that it drives. The 32 contributors to this work share their experiences in navigating the demons of race and gender and, in some cases, turning them into advantages. The book presents an impressive array of career stories that capture the triumph of the will to win, strength of character, and indomitable spirit over deeply imbedded social and psychological barriers. Excellent. 287 pp. 2003.

The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy, by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
The authors find that authoritarian, paternalistic management continues to exist. The fault lies with failure to recognize the extent of the illness or imagine in detail what organizations might look like after it is gone. The book chronicles the key reasons for putting an end to management, and profiles the elements needed to create collaborative, democratic, self-managing organizations. Its premise is that today's organizations can dramatically improve their performance by empowering those who work inside them to manage themselves and take responsibility for their own development and performance. Through a combination of collaboration, self-management, and organizational democracy, far reaching changes can be achieved. The book provides both vision and specifics, and points the way to profound organizational change. Highly recommended. 310 pp. 2002.

The Ethical Challenge: How to Lead with Unyielding Integrity, by Noel M. Tichy and Andrew R. McGill, Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
Uses the examples of Enron and the like to present a discussion of business ethics and the challenges facing some of America's leading CEOs. The last part of the book presents how MBA students wrestled with ethical dilemmas and explores the importance of building corporate global citizenship as a core ethics issue. Contributors provide perspectives to help build better leaders, organizations and communities. Through out the book are lessons and tools (teachable points of view) for teaching values and ethical behavior; the focus is on showing how to build a values-based culture. 304 pp. 2003.

Ethics and HRD: A New Approach to Leading Responsible Organizations<, by Tim Hatcher. Perseus Books.
Shows how HRD plays a catalytic role in merging leadership and the social and environmental responsibility of organization. Introduces concepts and approaches (strategies, programs and interventions) for HRD in fostering ethical and sustainable workplaces. The book explores the ethical responsibilities and conduct of HRD and provides a conceptual and practical framework of ethical HRD. The author examines business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and leadership and such contemporary issues as globalization, technology, economic development, and the environment. A summary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Amnesty International Rights Principles for companies, are presented in appendices. The book is unique in its breadth, depth and thoughtful discussion of issues. 254 pp. 2002.

The Evolving Corporation: A Humanist Interpretation., by William J. Cook. Quorum Books.
A scholarly, insightful work that examines the organization in a historical and philosophical context, with special emphasis on the social, political and economic impacts of modern scientific and Western thought. The author concludes the book with some maverick thinking about what organizations are evolving into, as the rationalistic foundations of traditional corporate organization give way to the realities of a nonrational world. For those interested in understanding the nature of organization and its future in terms of values, history, and many other perspectives, this is an excellent work that deserves great praise. 338 pp. 2000.

Handbook of Workplace Spirituality and Organizational Performance, by Robert A. Giacalone and Carele L. Jurkiewicz, Eds. M. E. Sharpe, Inc., Publisher.
The essays in this collection explore the spirit-work connection, viewed as a separate area of study like leadership or motivation. The book marks the beginning into a scientific investigation into the role "spirituality" plays in the workplace. Essays are grouped into three sections: theoretical development of workplace spirituality; conceptualizing workplace spirituality; and applied theory in workplace spirituality. The contributors cover a broad range of topics that include: the meaning spirituality; its connection to the business world; ethics; values; organizational citizenship; health; stress and well-being; and performance. Extensive references. This is a pioneering work that is intriguing. 524 pp. 2002.

Leading with Soul: An Uncommon Journey of spirit, by Lee G. Boleman and Terrence E. Deal, Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
Using the story of one manager's spiritual education, shows that managers need to find their own spirit and integrate it into their work, thereby helping their employees see why putting their soul (passion and spirit) into work is worth it. The book is largely based on storytelling and focuses on the inner search for self-awareness and understanding. 258 pp. 2001.

Moral Intelligence: Enhancing Business Performance & Leadership Success, by Doug Lennick and Fred Kiel. Wharton Center for Human Resources.
Based on interviews and case-based research, the authors have found a clear link between long-term financial performance and moral intelligence which includes such qualities as integrity, responsibility, compassion, and forgiveness. The book is offered as a "road map" for leaders "to find and follow their moral compass." The book delves into moral intelligence (aptitudes that shape our moral compass and aligns our goals with it), moral competence (the ability to act on moral principles), and emotional competence (the ability to manage emotions-ours' and others'-in morally charged situations). The book pushes the moral intelligence envelop beyond the individual to the entire organization. The book is a highly stimulating and engrossing journey into the realm of values. 256 pp. 2005.

Next: The Future Just Happened, by Michael Lewis. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Drawing on a wealth observations and events, the author provides a vivid account of the impact, present and future, of the Internet on the economy, business and democracy. Enjoyable reading, filled with accounts of people and organizations. Recommended. 236 pp. 2001.

Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web, by David Weinberger. Perseus Books.
Unlike most books about the Web that focus on it as a means for conducting business, Weinberger tackles the subject from a broad range of disciplines, examining how this new technology affects and reveals much about ourselves as individuals and a society. His book views the Web through the lenses of psychology, sociology, culture, morality, politics, community dynamics, and more. He shows the new realities that the Web is creating, affecting how we understand the world, think, and interact with each other. Engrossing and entertaining. Highly recommended. 256 pp. 2002.

Tempered Radicals How People Use Difference to Inspire Change at Work, by Debra E. Meyerson, Harvard Business School Press.
Based on extensive research, the author explores the characteristics and challenges faced by people who seek to express their whole selves. Examines how these people serve as everyday leaders and have a transforming effect on their organization. Through cases, the author shows how these people succeed in staying true to their personal values, maintaining their identity, and pursuing their personal agendas, without jeopardizing their careers. The book explores the challenges these tempered radicals face and demonstrates that self-realization and affecting organizational changes is within the reach of everyone. The book is important for those who seek to maintain their individuality within a work context and succeed. The subject is unique; the ideas and insights are penetrating. Highly recommended. 220 pp." 2001

Value Driven Management : How to Create and Maximize Value Over Time for Organizational Success, by Randolph A. Pohlman and Gareth S. Gardiner. AMACOM. (800) 262-9699.
Presents a philosophy of management -- Value Driven Management (VDM) -- the key premise of which is that the things that people value drives their actions and that value creation serves both the individual and the organization. This concept of VDM is explored in depth, with some illustrations. One key point is that success is a matter of values of organizations and individuals being compatible. The concept takes into account the values of: the external culture, organizational culture, employees, customers, suppliers, third-parties, owners and competitors. Balancing and reconciling these are key challenges. Specific guidelines are given about how to implement VDM encompassing top management commitment, selection, organizational learning, training and development, and compensation. Concludes with self-help activities aimed at personal growth and self-esteem. An important book. 230 pp. 2000.

When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures, by Richard D. Lewis. Nicholas Brealey Publishing (London).
Provides a global guide to working and communicating across cultures, showinghow our culture and language affect the ways in which we organize our world, think, feel and respond. Discusses cultural conditioning and focuses on such topics as: the use of time: status, leadership and organization; team-building; values; manners and mannerisms; and communication. Over half the book is devoted to profiles of the basic business culture of over 40 countries. Well organized and clearly written. Recommended. 462 pp. 2000.

The White Collar Sweatshop The Deterioration of Work and Its Rewards in Corporate America, by Jill Fraser, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Drawing on data and case studies, the author chronicles the eroding quality of work-life. This is a fascinating portrayal of a radically changed, increasingly workaholic world. Covering the major trends in business primarily in the 80's and 90's, Fraser reveals an emerging culture marked by overwork, job stress, erosion of loyalty, lack of fair rewards, sweatshop management strategies, diminished job security and career opportunities, and more. The book examines a wide range of industry sectors and gives accounts of the actions of numerous companies as they have strived to improve financial performance and react to any lessening of constant performance improvement with downsizing, use of contingent worker, and other tactics that impact people. Fraser ends on an hopeful note, suggesting strategies to reverse deteriorating job conditions, but being realistic about the struggle white collar workers face ahead. Highly recommended. 277 pp. 2001.

Working Across Cultures, by John Hooker, Stanford Business Books, Stanford University Press.
The purpose of this book is to help prepare Western professionals for the otherness of other cultures. With an exceptional attention to detail, and skillful use of examples and illustrations, Hooker presents a book about several cultures of the world that is penetrating and clear. Turn to any page and find item upon item of interest. The book is ideal for anyone who works on the international scene or multicultural settings. The author goes beyond the typical matters of language, customs and etiquette to probe deeply held cultural assumptions and attitudes. Treated in this manner, the ideas surrounding culture can not be presented sequentially-they must be understood through their relationships to each other, which the this text does. Chapters tend to alternate between descriptions of specific cultures and more general discussions. Fundamental themes include: time, space, information, power distance, rule-based vs. relationship-based cultures, guilt and shame, and more. This book is top-notch in every respect. It includes an extensive list of further readings. Very highly recommended. 406 pp. 2003.