The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management

Age of Heretics coverBehind many corporate ideas or practices that have helped companies manage successfully today, there is a heretic: someone who fought for that idea when it seemed outlandish, improbable, impossible.

The Age of Heretics explores the evolution of corporate culture – through the lives of its heretics – from 1945 to the present. The book is a history of the social movement to change large mainstream corporations for the better, but it is not just that. It is also an inquiry into the precise way in which corporations have changed our world, and what it means to be a hero or heroine in a world bounded by immense institutions.

The history covers many of the thinkers and practitioners who sparked the modern organizational change movement — a revolution for freedom, self-expression, and high ideals that occurred not in the streets, but in business. It includes profiles of Kurt Lewin and the founders of organization development; Saul Alinsky and the link between community organizing and corporate purpose; Pierre Wack and the origins of scenario planning; Jay Forrester and the dawn of systems thinking; Eric Trist and the value of self-managing teams; Edie Seashore and the roots of corporate diversity; and many more figures, such as W. Edwards Deming, Amory Lovins, Paul Hawken, Herman Kahn, Robert Blake and Jane Mouton, Leland Bradford, Chris Argyris, Warren Bennis, Michael Hammer, and Tom Peters.

In this new edition, Kleiner examines the nature of effective leadership in times of change and makes a compelling case for its importance to the corporation of the future.

The Age of Heretics includes forewords by Warren Bennis, Steven Wheeler, and Walt McFarland.