The Web of Inclusion: Architecture for Building Great
By Sally Helgesen
2005/12 - Beard Books
1587982773 - Paperback - Reprint - 316 pp.
A book to be read and reread by managers and persons interested in building successful business organizations.
This engrossing discussion is the reprint of the 1995 book that in 1998 The Wall Street Journal called one of the best all-time books on leadership. The author has devised the phrase "webs of inclusion" to refer to integrated and organic organizations which are effective because management puts itself in the center rather than at the top, and the lines of communication are open and diffuse. This new way to look at the internal structures of business has generated a great deal of interest and the phrase "webs of inclusion" has become part of the organizational lexicon. This clearly written book describes the web in operation and shows how the web can be weaved.
From a previous version:
The author of the groundbreaking The Female Advantage, a revolutionary approach to management for the post-industrial economy. In her highly acclaimed book The Female Advantage, Sally Helgesen showed how the innovative management strategies of women executives differed from and bettered traditional organizational models. The Web Of Inclusion represents a quantum leap forward. Here Helgesen presents a fully realized vision of the postindustrial organization: the web of inclusion. Most organizations are still structured on a nineteenth century model: rigid, hierarchical, forcing workers into cookie-cutter roles. But the twenty-first-century economy is fluid, technology-driven, based on creativity and relationships. For companies to thrive, they must build "organizations for everyone." Inclusive, flexible, interconnected, technology-enhanced, and human-centered, webs of inclusion perfectly mesh with the ever-changing demands of the information age. Helgesen lays out the theory behind her provocative vision of a new style of management, then profiles five organizations that have achieved extraordinary success by adopting webs of inclusion: Intel, the Miami Herald, the Anixter Corporation, Beth Israel Hospital, and Nickelodeon.
From a previous version:
From J. Micheal Keeling, President, The ESOP Association:
Having personally worked with over 300 employee-owned companies, I confirm that those operating as recommended in The Web of Inclusion are more productive, profitable,, and, yes, happy.
From Bill Mills, Vice President, Talent Management, United Way of America:
Sally is provocative yet practical in offering proven strategies for leveraging power in the global marketplace.
From Marshall Goldsmith, widely recognized and respected executive educator and executive coach:
The Web of Inclusion is the classic book in inclusive leadership. Anyone who wants to know how to draw on the best talents of people at every level in the organization needs to read it.
From Publishers Weekly:
Helgesen (The Female Advantage) here describes a developing "collegial" business structure for the information age, one in which the responsibilities and opportunities of all company ranks are flexible and even invite customer participation in product development. This principle of "inclusion," the author shows, enabled Intel, for example, in a marketing first, to promote its brand name and a new microchip component direct to PC consumer/users through the retail advertising of Intel's existing computer-building customers. Other companies featured in this engrossing study of New Age corporate relationships are the Miami Herald ("be completely open with your staff"); Boston's Beth Israel Hospital (info-technology puts power at the hands-on level); Anixter, "delivering mass-produced goods and services... on a tailorized basis") and the Nickelodeon cable TV network, which solved a reverse-inclusion cultural problem. Business and technical subjects often entail specialized languages daunting to the general reader, but in this important area of modern communications and work relations, Helgesen has got it exactly right.
From Library Journal:
Helgesen (The Female Advantage, Doubleday, 1990) has written a readable work on corporate structures. Using the popular analogy of the web, she describes shifts in the reporting lines of organizations as diverse as Intel and the Miami Herald. A former journalist herself, Helgesen writes about web structures that were developed to meet specific needs or to save a troubled company. As defined here, the "web of inclusion" seeks to draw in all people in an organization despite salary or rank, often centering on people with power beyond their position in the company. The goal is to forge a stronger yet more flexible workforce. Despite the fuzziness of the concept, Helgesen successfully presents the stories of the organizations she surveyed in the words of their employees. Her book is one of the better accounts of the frontline-oriented, bottom-up management style that is slowly but surely gaining favor in corporate America. Recommended for all public and academic business collections.?Randy Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Libs., Ind. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Journalist Helgesen uses the metaphor of a spider's interweavings to symbolize what should be the new corporate structure. The web becomes not so much a sign of the information superhighway as it does an icon of a seamless, nonhierarchical, communications-oriented organization. This fluidity, she contends, is best equipped to handle the millennium's top five issues: diversity, marketing, employee empowerment, training, and strategic alliances. Her proof is offered in rather lengthy studies of five companies each of which excels in handling one of the five challenges: diversity (the Miami Herald), marketing (Intel), employee empowerment (Beth Israel Hospital in Boston), training (Anixter), and strategic alliances (Nickelodeon). From the details of each, it's obvious that Helgesen was allowed much internal access and leeway in order to instruct, inform, and, perhaps, subtly promote. A new framework, skillfully presented, for not-so-new business problems. Barbara Jacobs
The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 1998:
Before "web" became a cliche, this author built a whole book around the metaphor. And it is a magnificent book.
Full of ideas about creating fluid, flexible organizations, March 25, 1997
Helgesen offers both principles and excellent, in-depth case studies of creating fluid, flexible and powerful organizations. She did a masterful job of finding organizations which illustrate differing aspects of "chaordic" organizations (a term coined by VISA founder Dee Hock). If you want to recreate an organization to be values-driven and adapt to ever-changing realities, this is a great resource. Of particular interest is a chapter towards the end on how the physical office space affects an organization. Kudos
Sally Helgesen is an internationally acclaimed writer, keynote and seminar speaker, and consultant. She is the author of five books, one already reprinted by Beard Books, Wildcatters: A Story of Texas Oil and Money. Articles about her work have appeared in Fortune and other leading business periodicals.