Futurework: The Revolution Reshaping American Business

Futurework: The Revolution Reshaping American Business

Futurework: The Revolution Reshaping American Business

Futurework: The Revolution Reshaping American Business

Excerpt

Rapidity of change has become the central issue facing management development. Why? Look at the historic record of human technological progress. Between 1750 and 1900 human knowledge doubled. In the first fifty years of the twentieth century, it doubled again. Each decade since 1960 has seen a further acceleration in the pace of change (Steinmetz, 1976).

The challenge for training is to teach the principle of managing others during today's "future shock" period of rapid change and intense international economic competition. In order to perform the elastic, evolutionary jobs of the future, more employees than ever before must develop leadership abilities that require higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills. Static jobs for life have become a relic of the historic past.

We predict that the need for developing these leadership abilities will reach deeper and deeper into all business both large and small. This is symptomatic of fundamental changes taking place throughout the U.S. and worldwide marketplace (Conner et al. 1992).

As the economy becomes increasingly high-tech, existing jobs are being permanently wiped out through computerization, improved machinery, and new ways of organizing work. These are not all blue-collar jobs. Government data show that between 1982 and 1993 the country's 500 largest manufacturers slashed nearly 4 million jobs. Seventy percent of these lost jobs were white-collar jobs. During the 1980s new technology enabled U.S. policymakers to increase output by 30 percent and reduce labor rolls by 4 percent. In 1993 this trend is extending into service industries, affecting skilled professional such as computer designers and programmers. Lifelong education for all American workers who will continuously experience job obsolescence is one of the realities of advancing technology (Myers, 1992; Zachary &Ortega, 1993).

This environment hardly encourages employee productivity and high personal . . .

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