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The Case for Good Jobs: How Great Companies Bring Dignity, Pay, and Meaning to Everyone's Jobs by Zeynep Ton

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Named one of the Best Business Books of 2023 by the Financial Times

Thinkers50 2023 Winner: Talent Award

From MIT professor and pre-eminent voice on Good Jobs comes a leadership guide for choosing excellence and providing good jobs that offer a living wage, dignity, and opportunities for growth.

From healthcare facilities to call centers, fulfillment centers to factories, and restaurants to retail stores, companies are struggling to find or keep workers, because the jobs they offer are low-paying, stressful, and provide little chance for growth and success.

Workers want good jobs, and many leaders want to provide them. But they don't think they can offer higher pay and more motivating work without hurting the bottom line. Most business leaders want to win with customers, but their companies are hobbled by a host of service and operational problems largely driven by high employee turnover-turnover that's partly driven by low pay.

It is indeed a vicious cycle, and Zeynep Ton is here to show you the way out: why good jobs combined with strong operations lead to higher productivity and increased competitiveness for the business. And why, more than ever, in a world with tight labor markets, failing to provide good jobs will catch up with you and threaten your business. As the leading scholar on good jobs and president of the Good Jobs Institute, Ton has helped executives at many companies implement a good jobs system. With expertise drawn from spending time on the front lines with workers and their managers, she knows what's keeping most companies mired in mediocrity and how implementing a good jobs system makes them more competitive, more resilient, and more likely to attract and retain loyal customers and dedicated employees.

Practical, prescriptive, and often provocative, The Case for Good Jobs is essential reading for company leaders who want to-who need to-choose excellence.

About the Author

Zeynep Ton is a Professor of the Practice in the Operations Management group at MIT Sloan School of Management. She is also president of the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute, where she works with companies to improve their operations in a way that satisfies employees, customers, and investors alike. Before joining MIT Sloan, Ton spent seven years on the faculty at Harvard Business School. She is the author of The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits.

Connect with Zeynep Ton on Twitter @zeynepton and at


Named one of the Top 50 Business Books of 2023 by The Next Big Idea Club

Named one of the Top Management and Workplace Culture Books of 2023 by Porchlight Books

Named one of the Best Books of 2023 by the Financial Times

Named one of 5 best business and technology books of 2023 by the Times of London

"In this thoughtful and well researched book, the author presents a convincing argument for improving the lot of employees." - Decision (Ireland's Business Review)

"By making the work better and increasing pay, companies can better attract and keep their talent and enforce high standards, which improve execution and service, uplifting revenue. Few have examined this important topic more closely than Zeynep Ton." - Strategy & Leadership Journal

Named one of the "Best summer books of 2023" by the Financial Times

"Persuasively argued and bolstered by astute case studies, this will be a boon to business leaders." - Publisher's Weekly

Advance Praise for The Case for Good Jobs:

"The Case for Good Jobs is essential business reading for executives and boards. Zeynep Ton doesn't just convince you that good jobs are the key to drive customer loyalty and company success, she gives you the courage to think and operate differently." - Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

"Zeynep Ton cuts through the ESG noise and uses clear examples and hard data to show why companies that create good jobs can gain a competitive long-term advantage. This book should be required reading for CEOs in labor-intensive industries and their long-term shareholders." - Charlie Penner, activist investor

"No matter what you thought you knew about the inevitability of lousy, low-wage jobs, this book will change your mind. Whether you're a CEO, a policy maker, or a cold-hearted economist like me, The Case for Good Jobs will show you how people are underrated, and how their demoralizing, low-productivity jobs are not only avoidable but downright wasteful-for the workers themselves, for their firms, and for their firms' customers." - David H. Autor, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT and Codirector, MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative

"A magnificent and important book! Zeynep Ton compellingly shows what I experienced at Best Buy: good jobs drive success. I admire how clearly she makes the case for good jobs. Every leader needs to read this." - Hubert Joly, senior lecturer, Harvard Business School; former Chairman and CEO, Best Buy; and bestselling author, The Heart of Business

"If you'd like to pay your employees decently, offer them decent schedules, and treat them with dignity and respect, but you worry that you can't afford it, this is the book for you. Drawing on years of research and in-depth work with dozens of companies, Ton shows you how to make the business case, develop the courage necessary to drive the change, and-most importantly-how to manage the implementation so that you reap the benefits." - Rebecca M. Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor, Harvard Business School

"Zeynep Ton lays out a strong case for investing in high-quality jobs, focusing not only on the 'why' but the 'how,' and highlights forward-thinking executives who are leading by example, proving that creating good jobs is good business." - Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

Book Information
ISBN 9781647824174
Author Zeynep Ton
Format Hardback
Page Count 256
Imprint Harvard Business Review Press
Publisher Harvard Business Review Press


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