Designing The 21st Century Enterprise


Organization & Governance: Philosophy

"This . . . is for people who are living under the tyranny of the prevailing style of management. The huge, long-range losses caused by this style of management have led us into decline. Most people imagine that the present style of management has always existed, and is a fixture. Actually, it is a modern invention - a prison created by the way in which people interact. This interaction afflicts all aspects of our lives - government, industry, education, healthcare.

"We have grown up in a climate of competition between people, teams, departments, divisions, pupils, schools, universities. We have been taught by economists that competition will solve our problems. Actually, competition, we see now, is destructive. It would be better if everyone would work together as a system, with the aim for everybody to win. What we need is cooperation and transformation to a new style of management."
W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics

How does a culture transform from a competitive to a cooperative environment? What is the role of the 21st century enterprise in facilitating cooperative - as opposed to competitive - learning?

"Self-organization suggests an approach to organizational change that is as revolutionary as the changes now demanded in the work place. This is the new wine skin required for the new wine of reengineering, process innovation, TQM, continuous improvement, new inventory methods, participative work environments, and rewarding and producing organizational cultures. We can no longer conceive of change as a fight against the natural tendency of systems to stay the same. On the contrary, organizations innately tend toward change under the appropriate far-from-equilibrium conditions. . . (which) demands that we introduce a new set of assumptions to guide the change process."

Your response

Do you believe it possible to get people comfortable with a constant change process?

"Or take this endlessly fascinating business of patterns. Pure neoclassical theory tells us that high-tech firms will tend to distribute themselves evenly across the landscapes: there's no reason for any of them to prefer one location over another. But in real life, of course, they flock to places like California's Silicon Valley and Boston's Route 128 to be near other high-tech firms. Them that has gets - and the world acquires structure. In fact, Arthur suddenly realized, that's why you get patterns in any system: a rich mixture of positve and negative feedbacks can't help producing patterns. . . It's the mix of the two forces that produces the complex pattern . . ."
COMPLEXITY; M. Mitchell Waldrop, 1992

Your response

Recognizing and tracking future patterns will become one of the most important knowledge worker skills by the turn of the century.

"By the year 2015 the United States will either be a leader in this new business revolution or it will be a postindustrial version of a developing country. Either a nation of independent knowledge workers or a colony of economic serfs. It will either enjoy a high standard of living or suffer increasing impoverishment - it will be either an economy transformed or a graveyard of industrial skeletons."
THE VIRTUAL CORPORATION; William H. Davidow & Michael S. Malone, 1992

Your response

In the year 2010, the rest of the world will see the US as . . .

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