The Organization Man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Organization Man
The Organization Man (Hardcover).jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorWilliam H. Whyte
CountryUnited States
SubjectBusiness, management
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date
Media typePrint

The Organization Man is a bestselling book by William H. Whyte, originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1956.[1] It is considered one of the most influential books on management ever written.[2]

Background and influence[edit]

While employed by Fortune Magazine, Whyte did extensive interviews with the CEOs of major American corporations such as General Electric and Ford.[3] A central tenet of the book is that average Americans subscribed to a collectivist ethic rather than to the prevailing notion of rugged individualism.[4] A key point made was that people became convinced that organizations and groups could make better decisions than individuals, and thus serving an organization became logically preferable to advancing one's individual creativity. Whyte felt this was counterfactual and listed a number of examples of how individual work and creativity can produce better outcomes than collectivist processes. He observed that this system led to risk-averse executives who faced no consequences and could expect jobs for life as long as they made no egregious missteps. He also thought that everyone should have more freedom.

Whyte's book led to deeper examinations of the concept of "commitment" and "loyalty" within corporations.[5] Whyte's book matched the fiction best seller of the period, The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit (1955) by Sloan Wilson in inspiring criticism that those Americans motivated to win World War II returned to ostensibly less-meaningful lives.


  1. ^ Whyte, William H. (1956). The Organization Man. Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-671-54330-3
  2. ^ Editors Of Perseus Publishing (2003). The best business books ever: the 100 most influential management books you'll never have time to read. Perseus Books Group, ISBN 978-0-7382-0849-7
  3. ^ Mills, C. Wright (December 9, 1956). Crawling To the Top. New York Times
  4. ^ Williamson, Kevin D. (March 13, 2017). "Why Corporate Leaders Became Progressive Activists". National Review. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  5. ^ Randall, Donna M. (1987). Commitment and the Organization: The Organization Man Revisited. The Academy of Management Review

External links[edit]

  • The Organization Mad, a contemporary parody [1]