May 6, 1993
Organizations today are poised on the edge of chaos – caught in the unpredictable, ambiguous postmodern era, where the systems of the past no longer apply and the rules of the future have not yet been made clear. Just as postmodern art or architecture brings together old and new elements to create an entirely new style, the postmodern organization blends dimensions of the past and present to create new forms and the need for new skills and attitudes. The ways in which organizations operate has been forever changed, and only those who understand these changes will be prepared to succeed in the emerging postmodern world.
William Bergquist draws from the perspectives of social historians, literary critics, and others in the sciences, arts, and humanities to present a unique vision of the postmodern organization – a hybrid of the old and the new – explaining what it is and how it has evolved. He takes an insightful comparative look at premodern, modern, and postmodern notions of five key dimensions of organizational life – size and complexity, mission and boundaries, leadership, communication, and capital and worker values – and details for major models of postmodern organizations, examining their implications for forming new strategies to manage the changing nature of organizational life in the coming years.
William Bergquist is president of The Professional School of Psychology in San Francisco and in Sacramento, California. He has written or co-authored more than a dozen books on organizational cultures, life and career planning, and professional development, including The Four Cultures of the Academy (1992), and In Our Fifties (1993), both from Jossey-Bass.