Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Management Theories # 30 - M-Form Society

In THE M-FORM SOCIETY, Ouchi William shows how much government can learn from business management. The strongest companies are M-Form — multidivisional — where middle managers may compete with each other but work together to iron out their differences before approaching top management with unified proposals. This idea of management teamwork can be successfully applied to society to achieve striking results.

The book identifies three basic elements of an M-Form society and shows how they must interact to be effective:

* strong interlocking trade associations — active forces pushing for new business initiatives and supporting basic research and development that benefits everyone;
* a responsive governmental organization — a nonpartisan forum for decision making on business issues of national importance and for implementing new initiatives;
* the active participation of banks — if banks become stockholders of corporations, they can ensure a more stable capitalization of business.

Many attribute Japan's success in the world economy to central planning, yet this book points out that Japan is actually an M-Form society and shows how competing businesses learned to work together to foster the spectacular rise of Japan's computer industry. America has its own M-Form success stories — like Minneapolis, a city that "really works."

In THE M-FORM SOCIETY Ouchi asserts that the United States can move ahead significantly if we throw off our addiction to adversarial competition and instead emphasize the teamwork necessary in an M-Form society. He presents a bold action agenda for achieving this transformation with specific recommendations for both business and government.

The time for criticizing ourselves is past, Ouchi says. Rather it is time to look ahead, time to establish the teamwork we need, time for action.



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