Alison is co-author of Future Work, with Peter Thomson, published in 2011, and Why Women Mean Business, first published in 2008 and published in paperback in 2009, with Avivah Wittenberg-Cox.
How businesses can adapt and thrive in the new world of work
The way we work is overdue for change. Businesses want to increase efficiency and attract the best talent and skills. The new workforce wants a fresh deal. Aided by technology, companies now have the tools to boost output and cut costs, to give employees more freedom over how they work, and to contribute to a greener economy.
But many organizations are slow to realize this. They cling to a rigid model of fixed working time and presence better suited to the industrial age than the digital age. Managers often equate status with a misguided belief in their ability to control people. Long hours remain the rule, irrespective of whether they improve performance.
This is bad for business. There is ample evidence that trusting people to manage their own work lives, whether individually or in teams, pays off. Organisations that measure and reward people by results, rather than hours, benefit from higher productivity, more motivated workers, better customer service, and lower costs.
Future Work sets out the compelling business case for a change in organizational cultures and working practices, with dozens of examples of companies making the transition, including Gap, Vodafone and Unilever.
Gender is a business issue, not a "women's issue".
Women make up much of the market and most of the talent pool. Reaching women consumers and developing female talent is essential for sustainable economic growth in the 21st century. Studies show that better gender balance in business means better bottom line results and greater resistance to economic crises.
So why are there still so few women in leadership roles in business? Why are companies struggling to respond to today's female consumer? Why is there a persistent pay gap between men and women around the world?
Why Women Mean Business takes the economic arguments for change to the heart of the corporate world. It shows why getting gender right matters – as much when the economy's bust as when it's booming. A must-read, packed with ideas from companies that have made it work, views from top business leaders and step-by-step guides to how we can all become gender bilingual.
The book is a Wiley bestseller and has been translated into French - Womenomics: La Croissance dépend aussi des femmes Eyrolles - Portuguese, Korean, Arabic and Italian. In 2009, the book was awarded a Manpower Work Foundation prize. The President of Manpower France praised what she called a "complete, international and very clear" book.