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European Pharmaceutical Contractor

In Search of the Organisation?

Where has the Organisation Gone from Which we are Supposed to Achieve Excellence?

In the early 1980s two books, In Search of Excellence (1) and The Change Masters (2) became required reading for those training to become managers. Words such as 'champions', 'teams', 'task forces' and 'quality circles' were used to describe successful organisational behaviour where autonomy and entrepreneurship were encouraged. Kanter, author of The Change Masters, emphasised knowledge and teamwork and described one of her most successful companies as having organisational charts resembling a "plate of spaghetti". These books heralded a stream of management theory which transformed the working of large organisations into flatter, more team-based cultures with powerful educational programmes designed to empower individuals to 'add value'.

The natural extension of empowerment and organisational entrepreneurship was the devolution of companies to form networks of independent companies. In the pharmaceutical industry, the constant need to grow asset values led to mega mergers. The need to cut costs in these vast companies, in turn, led to an outsourcing model where companies either transferred their clinical research staff to large CROs with whom they set up preferred partnerships, or offered redundancy payments which often funded smaller organisations. The latest of these mega mergers, Pfizer's acquisition of Pharmacia, will result in another round of redundancies, spin-offs and staff transfers to what are now mega CROs (3). The organisation as we knew it no longer exists.


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By Dr Flic Gabbay, Director of Strategic Projects at Micron Research

Dr Flic Gabbay is Director of Strategic Projects for Micron Research, the global contract research company. She is a physician by training and has previously been a Regional Director of Research at Parke Davis where she worked for nearly 10 years.

Flic founded a CRO which was acquired by PPD, and has spent four years in CEO positions in emerging pharmaceutical companies. She is a Non Executive Director of a small discovery company and holds a number of educational and professional positions in pharmaceutical medicine.

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Dr Flic Gabbay
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