WEAK-SIGNAL GOVERNANCE/EARLY WARNING ADVISORY SYSTEMS
Walt Whitman once observed, "From any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary." For a number of reasons, many related to the impacts and devastation of World War II, American industry reached a pinnacle of success that lasted through the first two or three postwar decades. But, as everyone now recognizes, out of that success were born the seeds of a struggle that have literally become a life and death battle for survival for great chunks of our domestic industry. Because of this upheaval and the resulting turbulence, corporate management and boards of directors, in turn, face a greater struggle than they ever have before encountered. As a result, it becomes more difficult to conduct and govern our various organizations as in the past.
Harland Cleveland, dean of the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, notes that the informatization of society has changed the context of our human activities in which information is now our crucial resource. 1Previously, the inherent characteristics of the world's physical resources (natural and manmade) made possible the development of five bases for hierarchy and discrimination. Cleveland suggests that these five hierarchies are crumbling today, based on the forces at work in our turbulent world. These five hierarchies are: hierarchy of power based on control (of new weapons, of energy sources, of trade routes, of markets and especially of knowledge); hierarchy of influence based on secrecy; hierarchies of class based on ownership; hierarchies of privilege based on early access to valuable resources; and hierarchies of politics based on geography.