A Company of Citizens: What the World’s First Democracy Teaches Leaders about Creating Great Organizations – Brook Manville, Josiah Ober

The “knowledge revolution” is widely accepted, but strategic leaders now talk of the logical next step: the human capital revolution and the need to manage knowledgeable people in an entirely different way. The organization of the future must be not only nimble and flexible but also self-governing and values-driven. But what will this future organization look like? And how will it be led? In this thoughtful book, organizational expert Brook Manville and Princeton classics professor Josiah Ober suggest that the model for building the future organization may lie deep in the past. The authors argue that ancient Athenian democracy was an ingenious solution to organizing human capital through the practice of citizenship. That ancient solution holds profound lessons for today’s forward-thinking managers: They must reconceive today’s “employees” as “citizens.” Through this provocative case study of innovation and excellence lasting two hundred years, Manville and Ober describe a surprising democratic organization that empowered tens of thousands of individuals to work together for both noble purpose and hard-edged performance. Their book offers timeless guiding principles for organizing and leading a self-governing enterprise. A unique and compelling think piece, A Company of Citizens will change the way managers envision the leadership, values, and structure of tomorrow’s people-centered organizations.

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