There is some resemblance between the state of surgery four centuries ago and the state of organization theory until recently. There is no dearth of books in the field; indeed, organization theory is the main subject taught under the heading of ‘management’ in many of our business schools. There is a great deal of importance and value in these books – just as there was a great deal of genuine value in the classical texts on surgery. But the practising manager has only too often felt the way the barber must have felt. It is not that he, as a ‘practical man’, resisted theory. Most managers, especially in the larger companies, have learned the hard way that performance depends upon proper organization. But the practising manager did not as a rule understand the organization theorist, and vice versa.