The New Ecology of Leadership: Business Mastery in a Chaotic World

The New Ecology of Leadership: Business Mastery in a Chaotic World

by David Hurst


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David Hurst has a unique knowledge of organizations—their function and their failure—both in theory and in practice. He has spent twenty-five years as an operating manager, often in crises and turnaround conditions, and is also a widely experienced consultant, teacher, and writer on business. This book is his innovative integration of management practice and theory, using a systems perspective and analogies drawn from nature to illustrate groundbreaking ideas and their practical application. It is designed for readers unfamiliar with sophisticated management concepts and for active practitioners seeking to advance their management and leadership skills.

Hurst's objective is to help readers make meaning from their own management experience and education, and to encourage improvement in their practical judgment and wisdom. His approach takes an expansive view of organizations, connecting their development to humankind's evolutionary heritage and cultural history. It locates the origins of organizations in communities of trust and follows their development and maturation. He also crucially tracks the decline of organizations as they age and shows how their strengths become weaknesses in changing circumstances.

Hurst's core argument is that the human mind is rational in an ecological, rather than a logical, sense. In other words, it has evolved to extract cues to action from the specific situations in which it finds itself. Therefore contexts matter, and Hurst shows how passion, reason, and power can be used to change and sustain organizations for good and ill. The result is an inspirational synthesis of management theory and practice that will resonate with every reader's experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231159708
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Columbia Business School Publishing
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David K. Hurst is a speaker, consultant, writer, and management educator with extensive experience as a senior executive and an encyclopedic knowledge of management thought. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Regina's Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business, associated with the Center for Creative Leadership, and a contributing editor at Strategy+Business.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: What to Expect 1

Part 1 The Dimensions of Change

I Lost in Management Thought 17

2 Economics, Evolution, and Ecology 23

3 Scale in Space and Time 27

4 Why Wal-Mart's Growth is like a Forest's 34

5 The Ecocycle: Life, Death, and Renewal 41

6 The Ecocycle in Human Organizations 46

Part II The Front Loop: Nothing Fails like Success

7 Communities of Trust 51

8 Logic and Power 58

9 Climbing the Ladder of Abstraction 64

10 The Product Life Cycle Meets the Ecocycle 70

11 The Pathologies of Power 78

12 The Onset of Crisis 85

Part III The Back Loop: From Crisis to Renewal

13 Wisdom from the Scriptures 93

14 Into the Wilderness 99

15 Climbing the Mountain 104

16 The Logic of Leadership 110

17 The Complete Ecocycle 117

18 Vice and Virtue 122

Part IV Staying in the Sweet Zone

19 Tools and Settings in the Sweet Zone 131

20 Power Tools and Settings: Instructions and Directions 137

21 Management Tools and Settings: Rules and Incentives 144

22 Leadership Tools and Settings: Images and Invitations 152

23 Culture Tools and Settings: Custom and Convention 163

24 Change in Depth 174

25 The Design of Choice 183

26 Lean: The Practice of "Both … And" 192

27 Prescribed Burns: Context, Conflict, Crisis, and Creation 203

28 Growing People 216

29 Don't Throw the Past Away 228

Part V A Brief Orientation and Field Guide

30 Using the Ecocycle: Key Concepts and Questions 243

Notes 257

Bibliography 301

Index 323

What People are Saying About This

Ann Graham

David Hurst's combination of scholarly and practical knowledge of management is rare. Artfully weaving together material from history, science, psychology, economics, and more, Hurst offers an imaginative and compelling book that will appeal to anyone interested in management and economics.

Ann Graham, contributing editor, strategy+business

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