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Living in the corporate zoo, life and work in 2010 – review


Title: Living In The Corporate Zoo – Life and Work in 2010
Author: Richard Scase
Publisher: Capstone Publishing Limited, Oxford
Date of Publication: 2002
ISBN: 1841121878
Price: £16.99

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Looking into the future is a favourite pastime of mine. I like to have some idea as to what the years ahead have in store for me; it helps me to plan. As such I was keen to review this title. From a professional point of view I was anticipating a few clues as to the changing nature of the work role and the differing shape of the organizations to come which I hoped would build upon Charles Handy’s Future of Work written in the late 80s. My main fear was yet another text on globalisation, the influence of Europe and portfolio careers!

I wasn’t disappointed!

The book is very readable. The glossy cover of this 193 page paperback provides the framework for six sections of clues as to the future nature of work roles. Each chapter is divided further into manageable sections which can be picked up and read whenever the reader has a few moments to spare. The book is not intended to be read from cover to cover but instead can be dived into at any point and still makes complete sense! The sections in each chapter are only two to three pages long and are supported by diagrams and summary bullet points on almost every page.

The book takes a different angle on those topics that have been discussed previously such as the effects of globalisation and it asks what are the implications for employees, customers and business. The differences between leadership and management are referred to in terms of how styles must change so that creativity is captured and knowledge is managed. The growth of the interim manager is discussed together with the associated benefits and downfalls of this approach. Scase suggests that employees of the future will be less likely to make work their central life theme and instead they will do more to manage their work and life balance. Entrepreneurship will grow and early retirement will be a common response of employees rejecting the greedy demands of corporations. Interestingly the book also looks at the changing consumer. Those consumers that are both time-rich and cash-rich will continue to enjoy the traditional face to face approach of purchasing goods whilst those cash-rich customers with little time will be drawn increasingly to purchasing their goods and services on-line.

I especially like how Scase concludes the book with the final section entitled 'So What?' The main themes coming out of the book are brought together in order to reflect upon the implications of what has been said. The US influence and the UK’s insurmountable commitment to this model is questioned against the model of the rest of Europe. Scase indicates that personal and corporate goals are beginning to fall wider apart as individuals begin to reject the long hours and commitment that organizations demand. He purports that it is not enough now to only consider the profits of the shareholders but instead the management of a successful business will demand that all stakeholders interests are recognised and maintained. Individuals will be more inclined to find alternative ways of working in order to escape the demands of the corporate web.

The author, Richard Scase was voted European Business Speaker in 2002. He is a leading business strategist and forecaster and regularly addresses senior level executives at company and industry-wide seminars, conferences and management development programmes. Scase suggests that the book ‘has been written primarily for senior and middle corporate leaders who are having to tackle many of the human challenges associated with large-scale corporate change’. In fact I think this book will be of interest to anyone who is involved in planning ahead whether it be for personal or professional development. From a training standpoint the content of the book will be a useful reference point for the development of training strategies and 5 year plans for example.

Overall I would recommended this title to a wide-ranging audience that are seeking some new ideas as to the shape of work and its various facets in the future. An enjoyable and informative read!

By Kay Maddox
Training and Development
Pirelli Cables Ltd

Kay has worked in training and development in the area of management development, Business Excellence and Investor in People for BAE SYSTEMS, GEC Alstom Transport and currently for Pirelli Cables Ltd, as well as lecturing part time in higher education institutions. She holds a degree in business, a masters degree in education specialising in training and development, a teaching certificate, post graduate diploma in personnel and development, NVQ level 4 management, NVQ level 4 training and development as well as being a member of the Institute of Personnel and Development.


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