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Skeptical about Supercorps

Rosabeth Moss Kanter has a real knack for picking up on the zeitgeist, with her most recent work being her new book “Supercorp” about companies that do good, do well, are family friendly, make tons of money and generously reward their employees with decent pay and careers.  In this time of layoffs, cutbacks, corporate nastiness of all kinds and political uncertainty, it’s a most welcome message to think of an alternative way of organizing things. 

Her ideas, however, are not without controversy, as my colleague John Caddell argues.  Big companies, even the ones in Kanter’s study, struggle with innovation, have trouble executing, are often pretty brutal to their front-line staff, and occasionally are completely clueless about their own customers.  Indeed, since the book came out two of the examples (P&G and IBM) have been engaging in layoffs and reorganizations.

So, what do you think?  Can companies figure out how to be effective competitors, socially responsible and great places to work?  Examples and ideas most welcome. 

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