Book review: Turbulence

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Edward S Greenberg, Leon Grunberg, Sarah Moore and Patricia B Sikora

Off the shelf
Off the shelf

What can a manager in a charity learn from the US aeroplane company Boeing? Well, if you're facing "turbulence" - the term for unsettling organisational change - the answer is 'plenty'.

Edward S Greenberg, Leon Grunberg, Sarah Moore and Patricia B Sikora studied the company for a decade from the mid-1990s and have produced a valuable insight into what happens in an organisation when it carries out severe cost cuts. (And which charity isn't feeling the financial squeeze right now?)

How, as a middle manager, do you keep up the morale of your staff so that difficult changes, such as downsizing, don't make your charity a toxic place to work? And how can you give them the opportunity to thrive in such an environment?

The key is to ensure that everyone "buys into" the overall mission of your organisation and the changes to be made. "Employee resistance to or confusion about workplace reforms often undermines what top executives are trying to achieve," write the authors.

And it's usually middle managers whose job it is to make sure everyone is "on the right page". If you don't, not only will front-line morale dip, but you will also get it in the neck from the top. It's all about communication.

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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