Improving Performance

How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart

Alan P. Brache, Geary A. Rummler

Publisher: Jossey-Bass, 1990, 227 pages

ISBN: 1-55542-214-4

Keywords: Performance Measurement, Organizational Development

Last modified: Feb. 11, 2020, 9:04 p.m.

All too often, organizations approach the task of improving overall performance through a mélange of departmental efforts. Little attention is paid to the whole picture or to the potential repercussions for the rest of the organization -- for example, how a new product concept in engineering will affect marketing and and manufacturing, or how a critical merchandising campaign will garner the necessary support in retail store operations. Yet it is precisely this interaction between departments — the "white space" on traditional organization charts — that must be managed for improvement efforts to pervade the entire organization and for improvements to be sustained over time.

Improving Performance provides a practical framework for understanding how the the various departments and functions in an organization interrelate and shows how to manage this interaction to enhance the organization's effectiveness. The authors show how, by coordinating improvement efforts among all areas, managers can use organizational resources more efficiently, minimize departmental conflicts, and create a work environment that leads to better performance.

The authors explore three avenues of approach for dealing with performance issues: through organizational strategies, structures, and management practices; through the processes used to get work done; and through individual jobs and employees. They then show how jobs apply these approaches to specific performance issues — presenting a wealth of practical information for improving quality, enhancing customer service, implementing effective training programs, increasing market share, or speeding up order fulfillment.

    1. Introduction: The Challenge Facing American Business
  • Part One: A Framework for Improving Performance
    1. Viewing Organizations as Systems
    2. Three Levels of Performance: Organization, Process, and Job/Performer
  • Part Two: Exploring the Three Levels of Performance
    1. The Organization Level of Performance
    2. The Process Level of Performance
    3. The Job/Performer Level of Performance
  • Part Three: Applying the Three Levels of Performance
    1. Linking Performance to Strategy
    2. Moving from Annual Programs to Sustained Performance Improvement
    3. Diagnosing and Improving the Organization: A Case Study
    4. Improving and Managing the Process of the Organization
    5. Measuring Performance and Designing a Performance Management System
    6. Designing an Organization Structure That Works
    7. Managing Organizations as Systems
    8. Creating a Performance-Based Human Resource Development Function
    9. Developing an Action Plan for Implementation


Improving Performance

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:06 a.m.

A decent book on how to design organizations. It is supposed to have started the whole "process improvement" (including BPR, but who cares…) movement.


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