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4.4 out of 5 stars
56
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 July 2017
very good
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on 27 April 2017
Great
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on 11 June 1999
I first came across this book when studying for my MBA.Later I started teaching management classes(1992);the official reading lists for the courses I taught were long and full of difficult to read texts. Some of the students asked me to recommend an easy to read text; I recommended this book because I had found it so easy to handle. I've recommended it ever since. Over the years it has been revised and improved so it still remains fresh and stuffed with current management thinking. The summaries of different theories are really useful for struggling students.If you are a first year BA or a CMS/DMS student - buy it!
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on 29 December 2016
Excellent book.
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Charles Handy is arguably the UK's top business "guru", but in my opinion this title somewhat diminishes his life's work, which has gone beyond matters of simple business administration into a philosophy of life and work, and is imbued with a spirituality that I find infectious (even though I am not a very spiritual person). This, however, is his seminal management text, and there is but a hint of the philosophical musings of "The Empty Raincoat" and "The Hungry Spirit".

Understanding Organisations was first published in 1976, and my fourth edition (I don't know why Amazon describes this as the third edition - that must be an error) was published in 1993, with a revised introduction in 1999. It cannot claim to be entirely up to date, therefore, but it remains valid both as a commentary on previous work on motivation, roles, leadership, power groups and organisations as well as contributing many of Handy's own ideas on the subject. I think that it was here that he first used analogies with the ancient Greek gods to describe the cultures of organisations, which he later developed in "Gods of Management". I've dipped into this book in the past, and have worked through it systematically recently as one of the key texts for a course on "Organisational Behaviour". My impression is that there are few more recent developments in this field than were taken into account in the writing of the book.

I have few quibbles. Handy's style is scholarly - I had wondered if this was his doctoral thesis but in fact he did not do one (he has an honorary one from Trinity College Dublin). It is accessible - and I do like the dry humour with which he delivers some of his case studies - but it is not as an easy or entertaining a read as some of his subsequent works. This is an excellent book, whether to use as a course text or to dip into as you experience and reflect on "trouble at mill" in your working life.
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on 9 April 2015
Well written, clear and concise. Handy explains the key aspects of each subject in a way that makes it truly accessible. Highly recommend for academic referencing or general understanding.
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on 12 December 1999
Charles Handy's book is an essential reader of the most modern developments in organizational theory and organizational behaviour. It provides a useful overview of the different key issues that matter to organizations: not just leadership and design (as it is often the case elsewhere), but the ecological and cultural factors as well.
Anybody who cares about organizations (whether they are hospitals, schools, a factories or businesses of any kind) will benefit from this down-to-earth yet profound and wise book.
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on 30 April 2012
Such a good book to this this 4th ed is from 1993 and its still so good in to days world - love it! ive only just go this book and i can say its very "handy" for doing with (study etc) in the area of organizations. This is an easy read book and is very good for students and is a good refrence to add in to one project! this book will cover both organizational theory and organizational behaviour, it great for many types of organizations and comes with some good Figs
There are so many good reviews for this book im going to end this here and say if you have found this book and are thinking should i buy it or not, i say get it, i held off for a few weeks and wish i had not this is such a good read and handy book to have on ones shelf.
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on 27 May 2007
Charles Handy has been very influential shaping my attitudes to work, life styles and the management of organisations. This is a great primer for new students. I also highy recommend reading all his books and listening to his audio recordings.

His later works outline succinctly the demands changing corporations and globalization place on individuals and society. A very inspirational and thought provoking commentator, he positions the world of work in the larger context of ethics and morality. He also explores the human struggle to maintain individuality, spirituality, choice, freedom and dignity
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on 20 February 2000
This book draws upon and analyses most modern management theories, and gives Handys well informed perspectives. The work does indeed contain pearls of wisdom, and should be essential reading for any open minded manager. The work is intended as a diagnostic tool, and would be essential for any of us prudent enough to use it as such. It is also well written enough to make a stimulating and interesting read for any intellectual person, something that cannot be said of many management books.
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