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Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization
Thomas O. Davenport and Stephen D. Harding

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Format: Hardcover, 336pp.
ISBN: 9780470627723
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: November 2, 2010

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Management and leadership have been with us since humans invented work. For most of the last two decades, however, the manager position has been under direct assault. It's become a ragged conglomeration of pieces and parts, designed to do too many things and engineered to do none of them well. People both higher and lower in the organizational hierarchy question its value, resent the authority it confers, and criticize the competence of the people who do it.

In Manager Redefined, Tom Davenport and Stephen Harding look at the picture differently. They view supervisors and managers as centers of insight and influence, underappreciated in many organizations, but endowed nevertheless with the potential to make dramatic contributions to enterprise success. The authors challenge readers to consider the power embedded in their managers' accumulated knowledge and experience. Building and unleashing that power is the authors' aim in Manager Redefined.

Davenport and Harding make the case that executives and the Human Resources function should see managers as more than just message amplifiers, system executors, or (heaven forbid) a necessary evil required mainly to keep employees in line. They urge companies to think of their managers instead as potential sources of competitive advantage. They draw on data from the Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, as well as on examples from such companies as Intel, Cisco Systems, SAS, and Southwest Airlines, to create a blueprint for the new manager role. The authors also provide a sound and practical performance model that reflects both current workplace reality and enduring human traits.


"Davenport and Harding bring a wealth of data and field experience to an often undervalued but pivotal role, the middle manager. They make a convincing case for the untapped potential that lies within that role."
—John W. Boudreau, professor of management, Marshall School of Business; research director, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California

"In a world of constant change, this book will help you make sense of what's important and tackle the challenges of being a manager in impossible times, with experience, wisdom, and research that will redefine your ability to lead. Buy it. Read it. Then do it!"
—Chester Elton, New York Times best-selling author of The Carrot Principle

"The authors provide a blueprint for resolving one of the most important and oftendifficult aspects of management—motivating performance. Combining research on how companies operate with recent findings in psychology, they redefine managers as coaches who build autonomy and self-efficacy among team members while maintaining account–ability for company goals."
—Paul J. Zak, professor of economics and director, Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, Claremont Graduate University

"This is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the critical role of talent inorganizations. The authors challenge organizations to rethink their perspectives and consider how high-performing managers can become a tangible source of competitive advantage."
—Alan Miller, chairman and CEO, Universal Health Services

"In their encyclopedic work on how to unleash the power and potential of managers, the authors provide a framework that will also benefit the companies they work for and the employees they lead."
—Patricia O'Connell, management editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

"Manager Redefined makes a very significant contribution by focusing on the crucial but neglected role of managers in sustaining an engaged workforce and provides creative and practical insights on how managers can contribute to organizational success."
—David MacLeod, coauthor, Engaging for Success, a report to the United Kingdom government

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About the Authors

Thomas O. Davenport is a senior practitioner in the San Francisco office of Towers Watson, a worldwide human resource consulting firm. He provides advice on human capital strategy, employee and organization research, and leadership development to clients in a wide variety of industries.

Stephen D. Harding is a senior practitioner in the London office of Towers Watson. He has consulted in employee research and organizational behavior for the last twenty years and has responsibility for managing employee research projects throughout Europe and elsewhere internationally.

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