Managing Value in Organisations: New Learning, Management and Business Models – Why we need them


Advances in Project Management

By Donal Carroll 

London, UK

Outtakes: Participant organisation asides during the writing-journey of the book 

We can’t see the writing on the wall because our backs are up against it!

Developing an organisation is more than ‘more of the same’

Does ‘non-profit’ have to mean ‘non-risk?

Tradition is what we call something that doesn’t work any longer…’

Business and management, we’re told, should never stand still –but a recent (and not unusual) example shows that business and management thinking doesn’t, it actually goes backwards (based on thinking unchanged over the last 100 years). The example here is unusual only in the scale of its effects –many other organisations experience the same problems.

  • This spring, it was revealed that Hewlett Packard suffered a colossal $8.8bn write-down, having taken over the English–based company, Autonomy. Why? Surely they did a proper investigation prior to signing the deal? Yes, but it was dominated by traditional business and management thinking: Directors were ‘too tired from infighting’ -sectional-working rather than collective-working –something wrong with the management model. And what about due diligence? Well, ‘self-interested auditors facilitated HP’s reckless pursuit of Autonomy’ Why? Because they would gain from any deal and further short term shareholder value predominated – something wrong with the business model. And surely somebody would ask what are we thinking? They did – after the event – something wrong with the learning model.

Now you could take other business and management concepts and apply them to HP but I’m using these three models because they bring together how organisations create value (do business) organise their effort (manage), and mobilise thinking (learn) and depending on what these are, and how effectively integrated will depend on how successful they will be.

My recent book Managing Value in Organisations: New Learning, Management and Business Models starts with the premise that the ideas that got organisations this far are now barriers to their development. Think about not only HP but HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster and then say, Sony, Kodak, Nokia, and RIM. These organisations are already well covered. The book deals with 5 small, less known organisations: 3 established, one start–up and one sold on. To reach their next stage of development, all must ask if the thinking that got us this far get us further?

What is involved, how it applies to organisations, and a word of warning 

Here, I’ll identify the approach, what is involved, and how it can apply to contemporary business and management issues. But be warned! This is not a conventional business read. In seeking to address business problems anew, and recognising that much business writing seems like chloroform in print, it seeks to capture the excitement of management innovation, its ‘poetry and plumbing’ distilled from this journey. In business, as in many other areas, the first revolution is a new idea, and new ideas are natural predators of problems. Hopefully, readers will experience the work in words of the editor, as ‘cost-conscious poetry’.


To read entire article (click here)

About the Author 

donal-carrollflag-ukDonal Carroll


London, UK

Donal Carroll was born in the Republic of Ireland, left school early, did a TV engineering apprenticeship and after graduating as a mature student, his first post was teaching modern poetry at Clare College, Cambridge. He worked for over 20 years as a teacher and manager in Further Education, forming Critical Difference Consultancy in 1998. He has worked with many organisations in all sectors including NEC, Lucas, Ranger Oil, Lufthansa, NHS and over 100 Learning and Skills Providers. He has also worked for 10 years for the Open University Business School on their MBA programme ‘Creativity, innovation and change’. He is a poet, and blogs and tweets on business, management and how we learn/don’t learn. In his work as a teacher, manager and consultant, he has remained committed to developing critical, creative, independent individuals, team and organisations. He is the author of Managing Value in Organisations: New Learning, Management and Business Models, published by Gower in 2012.  Donal Carroll works for Critical Difference. www.criticaldifference.co.uk

Email:  [email protected]; Blogs:  http://www.criticaldifference.co.uk/blog.php

Twitter: @donalcarroll1; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Critical-Difference-Consultancy/143349879136178

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in the UK.  The articles are coordinated by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher also provides an introduction to the current month’s article, which you can see elsewhere in this month’s edition.”  Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement.