DECENTRALIZATION: Decentralization: Fantasies, Failings, and Fundamentals. 1998.
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Centralization vs. decentralization is one of the most common problems which occupy senior management, especially when cost-cutting measures or performance shortfalls from internal service providers are drivers. This book will clarify the key issues and provide decision makers with facts, clearly articulated reasons to either opt for centralization or make the best of decentralization if it's unavoidable.
The author is clearly against decentralization and backs up the reasons why with short case studies and a compelling argument. Unlike other authors, though, Meyer is a realist and recognizes there will be circumstances that make decentralization inevitable, such as internal politics, larger initiatives placed in motion by executive management, and mergers. Instead of proclaiming total failure he provides organizational models and methods to make decentralization work as best it can.
If you are evaluating the merits of decentralization vs. centralization of internal service functions Chapters 2 through 5 will arm you with a clear and objective view of the strengths and weaknesses.
Chapters 6 through 9 are invaluable to decision makers in any corporate or business unit reorganization because this material shows how to either design an organizational structure that is truly customer-focused, aligned strategically, and allows maintaining business unit autonomy in a centralized environment. These draw from Meyer's other book, "The Internal Economy: How to Apply Market Principles within Organizations" (ISBN 1892606186), which nicely augments this book.
Meyer also shows how to recentralize in Chapter 10, which also covers consolidation and merger. This is further fleshed out in Chapter 11, which proposes an innovative paradigm of a business within a business.
If you are in an organization that either must decentralize, or is decentralized and the barriers to recentralization are too great, Chapters 12 through 14 will show you how to make the most of the situation. The various models and methods Meyer provide to accomplish this evidence his extensive experience and a lot of deep thought.
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