A Great Place to Work:
What Makes Some Employers So Good - and Most So Bad?
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A Great Place to Work: What Makes Some Employers So Good-and Most So Bad?
By Robert Levering, 2000 edition published by Great Place to Work®, Institute, Inc.
In his groundbreaking book, Great Place to Work® Institute founder Robert Levering uses interviews and anecdotes from the best employers to:
- show why the most essential ingredient of a great place to work is trust between employees and management
- explain why conventional management practices make it difficult to create a good workplace environment
- provide case studies of positive and negative transformations of workplaces.
You may download the entire preface:
Beginning of preface from A Great Place to Work
by Robert Levering
A Great Place to Work is one of those rare books that is actually timelier today than when it first hit the bookstores a dozen years ago.
Since its original publication, I've had an unparalleled opportunity to view changes in the workplace. With Milton Moskowitz, I have continued writing about some truly remarkable workplaces by updating our list of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" in a revised edition of our book in 1993 and, since 1998, as an annual article for Fortune magazine. During the past half-dozen years, I've also looked at the phenomenon of great places to work from a consultant's perspective through my work with the Great Place to Work® Institute. This work has been especially fascinating as it's enabled me to explore the dynamics of workplaces outside the United States, in companies located in such countries as Brazil, Canada, Korea, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
While much has changed, everything I've seen has reinforced the basic concepts outlined in this book. This especially applies to A Great Place to Work's major finding—that trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces. Because this message remains as relevant today as it was in 1988, I am delighted that this book is being republished. I believe this message will continue to be relevant long into this century.
That said, it is worth noting some of the major changes that have swept through the workplace over the past decade to provide a context for reading this book today.
The first major change was the quality movement, which was at its peak in the early 1990s when Milton and I were visiting the candidate companies for the second edition of our "100 Best" book. The quality movement contrasted sharply with other management fads because it often led to significant improvements in the workplace, at least at the level of individual work groups. Quality movement practitioners preached that workers should be directly involved in decisions about how to do their jobs. When this happened, through techniques like quality circles, the level of trust improved because employees felt respected. I recall interviewing a group of assembly-line workers at a Deere & Co. farm equipment plant in Moline, Illinois. One worker reported that as a result of the quality circle meetings: "I no longer have to check my brains at the factory door every morning." His comments echoed statements I heard from workers at Preston Trucking (see Chapter 10 of this book) after Preston's management began operating from the premise that "The person doing the job knows more about it than anybody else."