Characteristics of Successful Organizations – Reverse Engineering the 1944 OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual through the Lens of Classical Organization Theory


  1. Neill, D.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
This Technical Memorandum reverse engineers the characteristics of a successful organization by examining, in the context of contemporary organization theory, the suggestions for organizational sabotage contained in the Simple Sabotage Field Manual published by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1944. The advice offered in the manual is evaluated against a framework consisting of Chester I. Barnard’s three key elements of organization—willing cooperation, effective communication, and unity of purpose—in the context of Barnard’s biaxial effectiveness/efficiency construct. The Memorandum concludes that, pace Barnard et al., the executive sub-unit of any organization is, by virtue of its centralized authority for decisionmaking and its internal dynamics, uniquely vulnerable to sabotage; and that by providing a useful “photonegative image” of the characteristics of a successful organization, the OSS Field Manual can serve as a “target list” not only for would-be organizational saboteurs, but also for leaders and managers hoping to identify areas for improvement of their organization’s policies and processes.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2009-051 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Nov 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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