The best organizational behavior books

6 authors have picked their favorite books about organizational behavior and why they recommend each book.

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Under the Hood

By Stan Slap,

Book cover of Under the Hood: Fire Up and Fine-Tune Your Employee Culture

Stan captures the essence of the mindset needed to Collaborate. To quote Slap: “When an employee culture is repositioned as a newly precious, workable asset, a company will naturally protect it, same as with any asset. An employee culture can’t be protected without protecting their humanity. If we lose humanity in business, we’re all doomed. If we save it we will have saved ourselves. In case you fear this icy hand of altruism will grip your own company by the throat and choke the life out of revenue, not to worry: We’re talking here about making the business case for humanity. In any environment where meaning is determined by metrics, the point of view and processes in this book are going to cause measurable, sustainable results." We agree.

Under the Hood

By Stan Slap,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Hood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You can't sell it outside if you can't sell it inside.

You want maximum business performance? Look under the hood and you’ll find your employee culture: it is the power that drives the enterprise engine. To harness that rumbling power you’ve got to solve the mystery of what an employee culture actually is, how it operates and how to move it forward. These are the keys that this book will put right in your hands.

Renowned business culture expert Stan Slap knows the difference between understanding your employees and understanding your employee culture. The distinction isn’t semantics; it’s the key…

Who are we?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.


We wrote...

Book cover of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

What is our book about?

Collaborative skills have never been more important to a company's success and these skills are essential for every worker today. Radical Collaboration is a how-to-manual for creating trusting, cooperative environments, and transforming groups into motivated and empowered teams. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet provide tools that will help you increase your ability to work successfully with others, learn to be more aware of colleagues, and better problem-solve and negotiate.

Radical Collaboration is an eye-opener for leaders, managers, HR professionals, agents, trainers, and consultants who are seeking constructive ways of getting the results they want.

Novations

By Gene W. Dalton, Paul H. Thompson,

Book cover of Novations: Strategies for Career Management

Gene Dalton and Paul Thompson changed the way we think about career development through their research and what they called the four stages of development. It has influenced career development and talent management practices in companies around the world. Deeply accessible and practical, the four stages are fully described and the book is rich in application tools, methods and best practices.

Novations

By Gene W. Dalton, Paul H. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Novations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1 HARDCOVER BOOK WITH DUST COVER

Who am I?

The future of talent management is now. I’m a teacher, consultant, and board member who is deeply interested in the social and economic impact of the freelance revolution. Millions of people around the world are now working for themselves as independent professionals or “solopreneurs”. Millions more are taking on freelance assignments to augment their income or increase their expertise and experience. Technology makes it possible for professionals in many fields to work remotely and free themselves from the limitations of their local economy. These benefits organizations by offering greater access to talent and gives professionals greater access to opportunity. 

I wrote...

Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts

By Jon Younger, Norm Smallwood,

Book cover of Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts

What is my book about?

Companies are gaining advantage through a new capability -- strategic use of external experts -- made possible by technology and the globalization of talent. Leaders everywhere recognize that "lean," "agile," and "fast" strategies require new ways to access and leverage--without owning--key talent to fill critical gaps. As managers seek nontraditional sources of strategic talent and experiment with fast, flexible ways of engaging these experts, they need a new roadmap.

This book delivers that roadmap. It tells you how to assess, choose, attract, develop, support, and retain your external talent. Authored by thought leaders and bestselling authors in leadership and talent management who teach and consult globally, Agile Talent reveals how companies such as Apple, Uber, Airbnb, Google, IBM, and Bain Capital organize and manage new forms of talent in innovative ways. Supported by survey data and packed with tools and templates for applying these ideas, this book is the ultimate guide for winning the next war for talent.

Taking the Floor

By Daniel Beunza,

Book cover of Taking the Floor: Models, Morals, and Management in a Wall Street Trading Room

Taking the Floor is the story of a 20-year intellectual odyssey, by Daniel Beunza, one of the world’s most insightful analysts of the financial system. He delves in-depth into the organization of a Wall Street trading room, beginning with him negotiating access to it when he was working on his PhD. He also reveals how later conversations with key people in the trading room made him rethink many of his first impressions, showing him that what he took to be a typical form of organization was actually very deliberately designed to be unusual. 

I particularly admire Beunza’s nuanced take (co-developed with the sociologist David Stark) on how traders use mathematical models. Traders are far from the naïve users of models that they are often portrayed as being, and instead often use models in a sophisticated way, not as guides to the truth of markets but as insights into what their…

Taking the Floor

By Daniel Beunza,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Taking the Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An inside look at a Wall Street trading room and what this reveals about today's financial system

Debates about financial reform have led to the recognition that a healthy financial system doesn't depend solely on how it is structured-organizational culture matters as well. Based on extensive research in a Wall Street derivatives-trading room, Taking the Floor considers how the culture of financial organizations might change in order for them to remain healthy, even in times of crises. In particular, Daniel Beunza explores how the extensive use of financial models and trading technologies over the recent decades has exerted a far-ranging…


Who am I?

I'm a sociologist at the University of Edinburgh, and for almost fifty years I’ve researched a large variety of topics, from the story of the guidance systems of nuclear missiles to the instantaneous auctions that, today, determine the ads you are shown online. But I keep returning to the topic of trading and the global financial system. The processes that lie behind this shape our lives in profound ways, but they are often both complicated and opaque. We need reliable guides for them, and the authors and books that I am recommending are among the very best guides!


I wrote...

Trading at the Speed of Light: How Ultrafast Algorithms Are Transforming Financial Markets

By Donald Angus MacKenzie,

Book cover of Trading at the Speed of Light: How Ultrafast Algorithms Are Transforming Financial Markets

What is my book about?

In today’s financial markets, trading floors on which brokers buy and sell shares face-to-face have been replaced by lightning-fast electronic systems that use algorithms to execute astounding volumes of transactions. Trading at the Speed of Light tells the story of this epic transformation. MacKenzie shows how in the 1990s, in what were then the disreputable margins of the financial system, a new approach to trading—automated high-frequency trading or HFT—began and then spread globally. HFT has brought new efficiency to trading, but has also created an unrelenting race for speed, leading to a systematic, subterranean battle among HFT algorithms.

Trading at the Speed of Light offers a unique glimpse into HFT’s influence on global finance and where it could lead us in the future.

Making Work Human

By Eric Mosley, Derek Irvine,

Book cover of Making Work Human: How Human-Centered Companies Are Changing the Future of Work and the World

I personally recommend this book because it clearly pinpoints the importance of some relevant values (e.g., gratitude, purpose, meaning) and their practical application to the work environment. I like the way this text discusses the regular use of these values and their direct relationship with business key parameters (e.g., growth, etc.). I found useful the description of the human workplace shown in the book, which includes traits like trust, meaningful work, empowerment, and others. There are some interesting insights on the importance of employee experience and specific ways to enhance it, among other topics. Finally, it is interesting that this book is littered with valuable statistical data backing its more relevant themes.   

Making Work Human

By Eric Mosley, Derek Irvine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making Work Human as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join the movement to harness the transformative power of people-and lead your company to superior business results!

By building a sense of belonging, purpose, meaning, happiness, and energy in every employee, you'll create a profound connection between your workforce and your organization and its goals. And that's the key to business success.

From the pioneers of the management strategy that has transformed business culture worldwide, Making Work Human takes you step by step through the process of implementing a culture of performance and gratitude in the workplace, seizing the competitive edge and driving business sustainability. Mosley and Irvine use game-changing…


Who am I?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).


I wrote...

The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

By Bruno R. Cignacco,

Book cover of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

What is my book about?

There are several well-ingrained assumptions regarding the dynamics of work and business activities: employees being viewed as commodities, competitors perceived as threats, companies’ resources seen as limited, and customers perceived as scarce and difficult, etc. All of which leads to the question, "Is there a way to perform business activities more humanely?"

This book challenges the reader to change the way they perform in business situations and become more focused on the human aspects of business activities. The users of this knowledge and those affected by them will undergo a profound transformation in the way they perform business activities. When readers put these principles into practice, positive ripple effects are bound to affect other stakeholders of the organization they work for or own.

Book cover of Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World

I really like this book because it provides the reader with very actionable ways to develop a more human-oriented workplace. I found interesting the way this book thoroughly dissects relevant themes related to the work environment, such as: the importance of an authentic voice, employee wellness, the significance of sustainable actions, and the value of giving back, among others. It is very useful that this book includes several examples of companies to illustrate these topics. I found it valuable that each relevant theme discussed in this book is accompanied by a human action plan, with very practical suggestions.  

Bring Your Human to Work

By Erica Keswin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bring Your Human to Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secret to business success? Get REAL and be HUMAN!

As human beings, we are built to connect and form relationships. So, it should be no surprise that relationships must also translate into the workplace, where we spend most of our time! Companies that recognize this will retain the most productive, creative, and loyal employees, and invariably seize the competitive edge.

The most successful leaders are those who actively form quality relationships with their employees, who honor fundamental human qualities-authenticity, openness, and basic politeness-and apply them day in and day out. Paying attention and genuinely caring about the effects people…


Who am I?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).


I wrote...

The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

By Bruno R. Cignacco,

Book cover of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

What is my book about?

There are several well-ingrained assumptions regarding the dynamics of work and business activities: employees being viewed as commodities, competitors perceived as threats, companies’ resources seen as limited, and customers perceived as scarce and difficult, etc. All of which leads to the question, "Is there a way to perform business activities more humanely?"

This book challenges the reader to change the way they perform in business situations and become more focused on the human aspects of business activities. The users of this knowledge and those affected by them will undergo a profound transformation in the way they perform business activities. When readers put these principles into practice, positive ripple effects are bound to affect other stakeholders of the organization they work for or own.

Who Really Matters

By Art Kleiner,

Book cover of Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege, and Success

Kleiner’s Core Group Theory was an aha moment for me, because it teaches senior leaders how to use their power well. The theory explains how top leaders act on their organisations like a magnet on iron filings: the slightest clue or cue they give ripples out, and is amplified and copied by everyone that follows them. This makes it crucial that leaders are careful about even the smallest behavioral choice they make: their priorities, who they pay attention to, the jokes they make – all of these will be seen as role model behaviors and replicated by those trying to impress. There is no such thing as off-stage for a leader.

Who Really Matters

By Art Kleiner,

What is this book about?

When corporate leaders announce, with seeming sincerity that they make their decisions on behalf of their shareholders, their words are taken at face value. But as recent news stories prove, this imperative is routinely violated.

In Who Really Matters Art Kleiner argues that the dissonance between a declared mission and actual operation can be seen in both large and small organistions. All organisations have one motive in common: everything they do - choosing which projects to back, who to promote, where to spend the money is affected by the perceived wants and needs of a core group of key people.…

Who am I?

It is shocking how many leaders suffer from imposter syndrome, and how little practical advice is out there about how to help. It’s been my mission to identify not only precisely what leaders need to be able to do well, but also how can they learn these things in the most efficient and durable way. Leadersmithing sets out a practical path to mastery and provides the toolkit leaders will really need. After I wrote it, I took on some senior leadership roles of my own. Even before Covid I had stress-tested the wisdom of this book, and post-covid I am even more confident that this leadership book really helps.


I wrote...

Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership

By Eve Poole,

Book cover of Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership

What is my book about?

Leadersmithing is a book of practical advice based on the experience of the thousands of senior leaders the author met during her career teaching at Ashridge Business School. Most leaders learn their trade the hard way, through bitter experience, but the latest in neurobiological research shows that there is an easier way. The book explains how to acquire the templates leaders need to lead with ease, and under pressure, and teaches leaders the tricks of the trade they need for mastery. It explores the 17 Critical Incidents of leadership and accelerated ways to become job-ready now. It introduces 52 leadership practices that map to these 17, so that aspiring leaders can curate their over development journey to develop the muscle memory they need for success.

Book cover of Leading Through Collaboration: Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions

A very personal look at strategies, mindsets and tools to create collaborative leaders and more collaborative organizations. John Glaser balances both theory and practical advice gained from his extensive experience as both an outside consultant and an internal leader, as school superintendent of one of California’s most prominent and successful school districts, Napa Valley Unified School District. John Glaser knows what he’s writing about.

Leading Through Collaboration

By John P. Glaser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leading Through Collaboration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

`Written by a very successful leader, problem solver and negotiator, the book combines a strong rationale for its practices, well delineated practical strategies, and vignettes from John Glaser's extensive background that provides the reader with a clear understanding of how to become a truly collaborative leader' - Pat Wolfe, Education Consultant Mind Matters, Inc

'What a marvelous blend of theory and practice! Glaser's writing is so engaging, so personal, and so informative that you will want to read every word. This book should be a requirement for every person who is serious about learning how to lead.' - Leonard O.…


Who are we?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.


We wrote...

Book cover of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

What is our book about?

Collaborative skills have never been more important to a company's success and these skills are essential for every worker today. Radical Collaboration is a how-to-manual for creating trusting, cooperative environments, and transforming groups into motivated and empowered teams. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet provide tools that will help you increase your ability to work successfully with others, learn to be more aware of colleagues, and better problem-solve and negotiate.

Radical Collaboration is an eye-opener for leaders, managers, HR professionals, agents, trainers, and consultants who are seeking constructive ways of getting the results they want.

Humble Inquiry

By Edgar H. Schein, Peter A. Schein,

Book cover of Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling

Over a number of decades, Schein has been one of the guiding thinkers in professional services and consultancy. His books are always worth reading as the advice is sounds and practical. In this book he talks about how it is better, and more productive, to help people by the practice of asking questions rather than giving answers. The model in the book goes completely against the stereotype of the consultant as a brash and overconfident individual pretending to be an expert who can tell anyone the answer to any question. Instead, Schein proposes a model that would be more familiar to those with a coaching background. It is brilliant advice.

Humble Inquiry

By Edgar H. Schein, Peter A. Schein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Humble Inquiry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This worldwide bestseller offers simple guidance for building the kind of open and trusting relationships vital for tackling global systemic challenges and developing adaptive, innovative organizations—over 200,000 copies sold and translated into seventeen languages!

We live, say Edgar and Peter Schein, in a culture of “tell.” All too often we tell others what we think they need to know or should do. But whether we are leading or following, what matters most is we get to the truth. We have to develop a commitment to sharing vital facts and identifying faulty assumptions—it can mean the difference between success and failure.…

Who am I?

I am one of those people who has several careers going on at once. I am widely known as a professional writer and have written 18 books, mostly professional and business books, but I have also written in the self-help genre and some fiction. In parallel with this, I am an independent consultant and have run my consultancy business Enixus Limited for almost 20 years helping large organisations worldwide with complex change programmes. Most of my business books weave together my love of writing with my professional interests and experiences.


I wrote...

The Freelance Consultant: Your Comprehensive Guide to Starting an Independent Business

By Richard Newton,

Book cover of The Freelance Consultant: Your Comprehensive Guide to Starting an Independent Business

What is my book about?

My professional books always start with observations about the world of work – observations that lead me to question something, and this results in a book that sets out to answer those questions. This book started with a number of observations, but central to that was noting that there was a huge difference in the levels of success of the most successful and the least successful freelance consultants. By ‘success’ I don’t just mean money, I mean the ability to achieve the goals you want to achieve when you set out as a freelancer. This may be about money, but often it is about freedom, independence and having the work life balance you want. In this book through my own experiences, but also using the stories of 13 other freelance consultants I explore what it is that the successful freelancers do, that their less successful peers don’t.

Book cover of When the Adults Change, Everything Changes: Seismic Shifts in School Behaviour

Most teachers get approximately half a day's training on behaviour in their ITT (and TAs get 0!). Luckily my half-day was with Paul Dix. Coming out of the lecture hall I remember thinking - this man speaks sense. This relates to the years of PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) and AP (Alternative Provision) experience I'd had up to that point. This book, an accumulation of years of experience, gives some practical nuggets to take away as well as some overall school-wide approaches.

When the Adults Change, Everything Changes

By Paul Dix,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When the Adults Change, Everything Changes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You can buy in the best behaviour tracking software, introduce 24/7 detentions or scream 'NO EXCUSES' as often as you want - but ultimately the solution lies with the behaviour of the adults. It is the only behaviour over which we have absolute control.

Drawing on anecdotal case studies, scripted interventions and approaches which have been tried and tested in a range of contexts, from the most challenging urban comprehensives to the most privileged international schools, behaviour training expert and Pivotal Education director Paul Dix advocates an inclusive approach that is practical, transformative and rippling with respect for staff and…

Who am I?

Adele Bates is a Behaviour & Education Specialist who empowers school leaders and teachers to support pupils with behavioural needs and SEMH to thrive with their education. She’s an International Keynote Speaker, a featured expert on teenagers and behaviour for BBC Radio 4, the author of "Miss, I Don't Give A Sh*t", Engaging with Challenging Behaviour in Schools, from Sage & Corwin Press, and is a fully-funded International Researcher on Behaviour & Inclusion, as well as teaching for nearly 20 years. For her tips and resources check out her website above.


I wrote...

"Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t" Engaging With Challenging Behaviour in Schools

By Adele Bates,

Book cover of "Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t" Engaging With Challenging Behaviour in Schools

What is my book about?

Do you want to be an inspiring teacher for everyone you teach, even the trickier cherubs in your class? Or maybe you just want to get through a lesson without a desk flying at you or a blazer being set alight?

In this down-to-earth book, Adele Bates shares practical approaches, strategies, and tips from the classroom on how to help pupils with behavioural needs thrive with their education. Packed full of real-life classroom scenarios, student voice and relevant theory, every chapter offers an Action Box helping you to implement these strategies - next lesson, next week, and long term.

The Fearless Organization

By Amy C. Edmondson,

Book cover of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

Amy Edmondson pioneered research on the topic of psychological safety. In this groundbreaking book, she explains why the most effective teams create a climate where people are comfortable speaking up to discuss questions, concerns, dissenting views, and mistakes. Edmondson combines rigorous empirical studies with rich case studies in a wide variety of contexts from the hospital operating room to the halls of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  

The Fearless Organization

By Amy C. Edmondson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fearless Organization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conquer the most essential adaptation to the knowledge economy

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent-but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of "fitting in" and "going along" spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought,…


Who am I?

I have been studying how leaders and their teams make complex decisions for the past 25 years. As a professor, I am passionate about teaching students and managers. My published work includes three books, as well as numerous best-selling management case studies. I have served on the faculty at Bryant University in Rhode Island for the past 16 years, and prior to that, I served on the faculty at Harvard Business School for 6 years. 


I wrote...

Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus

By Michael A. Roberto,

Book cover of Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus

What is my book about?

This book examines how leaders avoid groupthink and the dangers of "yes men” by designing and leading an effective process for making complex, high-stakes decisions. The reader learns how to promote stimulate constructive dissent and debate, test critical assumptions, generate multiple options, and uncover hidden risks. Moreover, the book examines how leaders can build buy-in and commitment to pave the way for successful implementation of crucial decisions.

Roberto introduces a framework for “deciding how to decide.” In short, effective leaders think carefully about creating an environment and process that stimulates critical thinking and constructive debate. Creating the right conditions enables leaders to garner the collective intellect of their teams before having to make the tough calls.

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