Tools: Looking for a good book on "corporate culture" (summary)

Subject: Tools: Looking for a good book on "corporate culture" (summary)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: CEL <copyediting-l -at- listserv -dot- indiana -dot- edu>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 21:44:42 -0500

Last weekend, I asked for recommendations about books on office and workplace corporate culture--something in the "survival guide" genre. A small clarification: I'm not going to try to update Machievelli (i.e., "use these tips to cleverly exploit your co-workers") but rather to teach newcomers how to survive under nasty conditions should that be necessary. I will, of course, quote Scott Adams (Dilbert) extensively, but in addition, I received a good many suggestions (but omitted some because they focused more on the manager side than on the employee side). In no particular order:

The corporate culture survival guide (Schein)
The Way of the Rat: A Survival Guide to Office Politics (Joep Schrijvers)
The Ape in the Corner Office (Richard Conniff, http://www.apeinthecorneroffice.com/)
Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment (Janis & Mann)
Good to Great (Collins)
The inmates are running the asylum (Cooper) -- already read, highly recommended
Gods of Management: The Changing Work of Organizations (Handy)
The 48 Laws of Power (Greene)
Writing Power: Communication in an Engineering Center (Winsor)
Talking from 9 to 5, How Women's & Men's Conversational Styles Affect Who Gets Heard, Who Gets Credit, & What Gets Done at Work (Tannen)
The work of Chris Argyris (see: http://www.hrmguide.co.uk/history/key_criticisms.htm)
Lion Taming: Working Successfully with Leaders, Bosses, and Other Tough Customers (Carol Chung)

I'm trying to avoid business consultant psychobabble; I've seen too many discouraging reviews about such things. Nonetheless, if you've got a book in this genre that you can recommend, please do send it along for the edification of others. For a more theoretical approach to how we furless domestic apes behave, a few other suggestions:

The Naked Ape (Desmond Morris)
The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are (Steven Pinker)
Body Politics (Henley)

If you're inclined to see human relationships as nothing more than combat sublimated into other forms, two classics: Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. If you're more of a humanist, remember that even the "little people" in your office or workplace are worth befriending. They may not all be as powerful as Dilbert's garbage collector, but they're still worth treating as people. Thinking that way becomes a good habit after a while.

And for the visually inclined: Office Space (movie, 1999)

Thanks to the following for their suggestions (apologies if I missed anyone): Heidi Arnold, Barry Campbell, Carol Chung, John Clark, Brian Gordon, Dee Longenbaugh, Tony Markos, Mike O, Kathy Parrott, Sankara Rajanala, Maryann Short, Edwin Skau, and Amy Wilson.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
www.geoff-hart.com
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