Who Really Matters

Discussion
Oct 10, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Art Kleiner’s Who Really Matters focuses on the people who make businesses run – and they may not be who you think.

According to Simon London’s review in the Financial Times, Mr. Kleiner’s theory is “Organizational behavior – good, bad and downright ugly – is dictated by the needs of
a core group of insiders. Companies that say they exist to serve customers, shareholders, employees – any group other than the “core group” – are engaging in an elaborate deception.”

In some cases, even chief executives may find themselves outside the loop of the core group.

Mr Kleiner writes: “Core group members are at the centre of the organization’s informal networks and symbolic representatives of the organization’s direction. Maybe they got
into the Core Group because of their position, their rank, or their ability to hire and fire others; maybe because they control a key bottleneck, or belong to a particular influential
subculture. Maybe their personal charisma or integrity got them in. In the end, it probably doesn’t matter how they got in. What matters is that they matter.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is Art Kleiner correct in his assessment of what drives organizational behavior? How do businesses create functional organizations?

Oh the tales we could tell.

Art Kleiner is right, although clearly he doesn’t have the market cornered on what makes organizations tick.

We’ve witnessed instances when few people within an organization have the respect of the larger group who look to them for leadership. The problem, however,
in these instances was that the respected group were not the titled leaders of the business.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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