Management Challenges in the 21st Century
The traditional management education and training relies heavily on left-brain thinking, deductive reasoning and analytical thinking. The managers of the future require a different set of skills based on the functioning of the right-brain like holistic or systems thinking, intuitive problem-solving and value-driven decision-making. While state parastatals could benefit from a number of these corporate lessons, readers should be clear about the many ways in which government agencies differ from corporate entities. In the corporate world, a single metric – profits – surpasses all others in importance. By contrast, a government organization must achieve success across a wide spectrum of activities. There is no equivalent to the simplifying discipline of a corporate balance sheet. Corporations must adapt or risk bankruptcy, and publicly held companies are accountable to shareholders who scrutinize their performance and profitability each quarter. These factors present strong incentives for corporations to invest in and drive change. The government organisations, in contrast, adapts only because of the will of its leaders and staff. If it dawdles, it does not come under threat of bankruptcy or risk the ire of shareholders. However, the consequences of strategic failure at the parastatals can be far greater than that of a corporation. The Evolutionary Context
The best minds in management were thoughtful and precise in identifying the management challenges of the 21st century. However there is nothing entirely new in the list of challenges. Most of them are part of the new and emerging paradigm in management, discussed and debated in the growing management literature on this subject. However what is lacking in the discussion is a clear and precise understanding of the change or evolutionary transition which humanity as a whole is going through. In other words, first we have to understand and identify clearly the evolutionary challenges facing future humanity as a whole and based on this understanding, we have to figure out what will be its implications for business and management. As the intuitive and evolutionary thinkers like Sri Aurobindo and Teil-hard-de-Chardin have pointed out, the main evolutionary challenge facing humanity is the growth of consciousness from the rational, divisive and analytical consciousness of the mind towards the unitive, holistic and intuitive consciousness of the Sprit. The ultimate goal of this evolution is towards the creation or establishment of a Global Consciousness, wherein humanity discovers its inner spiritual unity. Sri Aurobindo called this higher consciousness as the “Gnostic” or “supramental” consciousness and Teil-hard-de-Chardin named it as the “Omega Point” beyond the rational mind. This is the deeper and inner significance of the present trends towards globalisation, which is moving towards, not exactly a global society or a global government, but a global consciousness. The path to this global consciousness is through a system of values, education and culture which leads to a moral, psychological and spiritual development of the individual and collectivity. When this global consciousness expresses itself in the outer life it will lead to a global civilization, governed and united by the principle of a free, rich, harmonious and mutually complementing diversity. This is the inner imperative of the future evolution of mankind. In the external world, the main thrust of the evolutionary drive of Nature seems to be towards greater distributive justice which means greater diffusion of knowledge, power, wealth and culture into the masses, especially those who are suppressed or exploited in the previous cycles of evolution. This evolutionary thrust is expressing itself in the emerging society through the following movements: 1. Increasing empowerment and participation of woman, with more and more woman entering into...
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