Atlas Shrugged LO9728

Christian Giroux (lmccgir@LMC.Ericsson.SE)
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 09:34:16 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO9708 --

Reading the book ATLAS SHRUGGED, Gary Scherling emphasizes:

> Without a solid driving force, without a purpose, without a vision
> organizations become 'evil' - they start drifing into a money
> making/profit oriented organization, with little heart. They can
> survive for a little while, but not for long.
> I'd like to hear others viewpoint on this book.

Gary, I haven't read the book, but what you say here reminds me of what I
read in "Crisis and Renewal" from David Hurst (one of our friends in this
list). David looks at this from a higher viewpoint, seeing what you
describe as one part of an infinite cycle (we can observe this cycle in

This cycle is composed of 8 phases (starting anywhere, it's a loop):
- Strategic management (or building on knowledge acquired often through
trial and error)
- Conservation (the mature state of an organization and arguably, for
most successful big corporations historically, the longest phase)
- Crisis (often a discontinuity in the market, technology, financing...for
which the organization might be ill-prepared, blinded by so many years
of success in the previous 2 phases)
- Confusion (everything seems to be braking down - the old mental models
must be eliminated)
- Charismatic leadership (where vision, values, commitment to a mission
become the most important factors)
- Creative network (things are turning around)
- Choice (new opportunities start to be exploited)
- Entrepreneurial action (success is at the door)

...then back to phase 1.

Your comment above seems to stick with the bottom 4 phases.

Then David goes about creating "ethical crisis" and "creative destruction"
so, in a few words, an organization has the tools to face The Big One.

If you want a solid viewpoint, I suggest you read the book...It's also
full of historical references I found very interesting about Bushmen in
Afriqua and Quakers in UK during the industrial revolution. It's very
enlightning on the role of values and vision in the development of the
capitalist world as we know it today (did you know the quaker invented the
price tag ? Their value of honesty prevented them from bargaining on
prices and charging different price to different customers...)

Best Regards,


Christian Giroux <> System Support Manager, Technical Assistance Center Ericsson Research Inc. Montreal

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>