Book Reviews Equal Opportunities: The Way Ahead, JANE STRAW, Institute of Personnel Management (1989), 180 pp., E10.95. Equality of opportunity in employment is an urgent business and social necessity. This book takes an overall view in the U.K., sets the subject in its legislative framework, looks ahead to the future and discusses the influence of Europe. It, rightly, argues that equality belongs at the heart of good personnel and business practice.
Innovation and Industrial Strength in the U.K., West Germany, United States G Japan, Policy Studies Institute (in association with the Anglo-German Foundation for the Study of Industrial Society) (1989), 168 pp., A29.95. This study brings together financial and statistical information about five industries-mechanical engineering, electronics, motor vehicles, chemicals and textiles-in the four countries. The 2 pages devoted to a discussion of policy implications are bland, and in many ways reflect the limitations of a macroeconomic approach. It might have been more revealing to have based the study on a company-by-company comparison. One example of a more company based analysis is Britain’s Competitiveness: The Management of the Vehicle Component Industry, CHRISTOPHERCARR, 320 pp., A35.00. The author concludes: ‘The distinguishing characteristic of more successful management teams is that they recognized early on that production issues had to be treated as matters of critical strategic importance, requiring where necessary a longer-term perspective and commitment, rather than ‘as mere operational matters’ to be determined purely at an operational level, under the constraints of a relatively short-term budgetary perspective’. Valuable background, but the key issue is how change is managed; rarely is this effectively intergrated into strategic analysis and action.
Contract Research Organizations in the EEC, I. E. TRAIL and R. MICE (Editors), Commission of the European Communities (1989), 500 pp., ECU 40. DG XIII of the Commission of the European Communities, which has responsibility for innovation, commissioned BOSSARD CONSULTANTS to conduct a survey with the aim of: (a) listing significant contract-research companies in the EEC, (b) identifing their structure and the nature of their activities, (c) identifing their expectations with regard to Community action, (d) enhancing their role in technology transfer. Community documents may contain a lot of useful information, but its presentation leaves much to be desired.
Research Foresight: Priority-Setting in Science, BEN. R. MARTIN and JOHN IRVINE, Pinter Publishers (1989), 366 pp., A35.00. This book presents the findings of an international review of experience with research foresight commissioned from the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, by the Directorate-General for Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, by the Directorate-General for Science Policy of the Netherlands Ministry of Education and Science. A massive exercise that is relevant to anyone concerned with national policy making in this difficult area. But thinking on research, and the need for entrepreneurially sympathetic
structures for its effective exploitation, closer together.
City Form and Natural Process: Towards a New Urban Vernacular, MICHAEL HOUGH, Routedge (1989), 280 pp., A12.95. This book argues that the unrecognized natural processes occurring in cities can provide us with an alternative basis for urban design, and offers a radical and refreshing look at this problem urging for a re-examination of all inbuilt assumptions about open space. New thinking in urban planning is always welcome, especially if it takes a ‘Green’ approach.
Raising Venture Capital in the U.K., JOHN ORMEROD and IAN BURNS, Butterworth Law Publishers (1989), 261 pp., A27.50. A practical guide to raising venture capital in Britain. It reviews the various types of funding available and deals with each of the stages involved in the process; including the development of a business plan, approaching sources of finance, obtaining and negotiating offers, as well as how to document the detail. A cheap paper back version ought to be given to all growing small companies!
Business Strategy: A Guide to Concepts and Models, BENGT KARL~~F,Macmillan Reference Books (1989), 166 pp., L30.00. Over 50 business strategy concepts are defined and 20 models explained. Aimed primarily at senior executives who want to avoid being taken for a ride by consultants. It could also be a valuable introduction for business students, if a cheaper edition was available.
The Goal, ELIYAHU M. GOLDRAT~ and JEFF Cox, (1989), 276 pp., A22.50 (Hard), A9.95 (Paper).
This book has been described by some as an industrial ‘thriller’. It is essentially a novel about an industrial crisis, where a harried plant manager is working desperately to improve performance; and how new ideas are needed before radical improvements can be made. The author believes we learn through our deductive process and that presenting us with final conclusions is not the way to learn. Hence he has attempted ‘to deliver the message contained in the book in the Socratic way’. The fact that sales of the hardback first edition exceeded 300,000 is a measure of its success, but not everyone will find it to their taste. Personally I prefer real autobiography’s such as those of Skully and Jobs.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Alternative Corporate Strategies, HILL SAMUELBANK LIMITED (1989), A12.95. 1992 is acting as a considerable catalyst for change. The pace of cross-border mergers and acquisitions and other types of alliance is quickening, particularly in Europe the main focus of this study. These changes offer an opportunity for the imaginative, resourceful and persistant, but there are also