This book is an extended riff on a hodgepodge of topics - technology, globalization, competitive advantage, organizational structures, hierarchy, fragmentation - that is filled with sweeping generalizations (with little background evidence), sloppy use of terminology, ill-considered formulations (such as saying that Manpower, Inc. is "essentially" a big international trade union), business literature clichés, and the construction of nonsense terms that substitute for rigorous intellectual thought. The authors, two professors at the Stockholm School of Economics, argue that the entire world is now governed by the "forces of funk," a term that they never define in a coherent fashion. All companies must become "funky" or they will be driven out of business.
The "funky" corporation advocated by the authors bears some resemblance to the "visionary company" described in Built To Last (Collins and Porras 1994), notably in the necessity of firms having a core ideology, encouraging innovation and tapping the creativity of its employees. Otherwise, the model "funky" corporation is "narrow, focused on one or just a handful of core businesses" (p. 132), designed to leverage the accumulated knowledge of its workforce and partners, consistently innovative, and organized to contain "many hierarchies of different kinds" (p. 168). To create such organizations, managers must offer "meaningful leadership" that welcomes experimentation, promotes continuous learning, hires from diverse "tribes" of people, and creates value by building upon the "economies of soul."
Overall, this is an annoying and intellectually sloppy book that presents no original research and adds little to our understanding of how organizations need to adjust to the realities of the network society.