I recently read Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain. This is a very readable introduction to the world of introversion with some interesting applications to employment and education.
Among the points the author canvasses is the utility (or lack thereof) of techniques such as brain-storming. I still flinch whenever I see a flip chart! As an aside, the New Yorker had an interesting article about brain storming and teamwork —you can also listen to a podcast about this article.
Cain then explores group and team work, and open plan offices. As an introvert, the worst job I ever had saw me in a cube-farm where my work was constantly interrupted by the lady in the cube next to me discussing day trading (while at "work"!) all day long on the phone. She also discusses the extrovert ideal in leadership roles and different information processing strengths of introvert and extroverts.
There is nothing particularly earth shattering in Cain’s book, but if offers a useful corrective to much of the popular discourse on leadership and organizations—discourse which tends to emphasize extrovert-friendly behaviours regardless of their actual utility.
-- Bob Barnetson