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Recipes for organisational effectiveness. Mad, bad, or just dangerous to know?

Bernard Burnes (Manchester School of Management, UMIST, Manchester, UK)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 1 June 1998



Suggests that current advice on how to achieve, maintain or improve organisational effectiveness is flawed in certain respects: there is a lack of clarity as to what organisational “effectiveness” is; there is a tendency to assume that all organisations operate in the same unpredictable and dynamic environment; it is assumed that the proffered panaceas suit all organisations irrespective of size, purpose, mode of ownership or industry; and though some management gurus acknowledge that there may be some drawbacks to their prescriptions, they tend to see this as an unavoidable consequence of pursuing effectiveness. Conversely, this article argues that as there is no universal definition of organisational effectiveness, there can be no universal recipe for achieving it; organisations operating under the same conditions may adopt different approaches and still be successful. Organisations have a wide degree of choice in the priorities they set and the approaches they use to achieve these. Just as the fate of individual organisations cannot be divorced from the host society in which they operate, the reverse is also true.



Burnes, B. (1998), "Recipes for organisational effectiveness. Mad, bad, or just dangerous to know?", Career Development International, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 100-106.




Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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