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5. Evolving Forms of Corporate Structure

Herman Maynard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

CORPORATE STRUCTURE

The Second Wave
Hierarchy, matrix, business unit

The Third Wave
Team-value

The Fourth Wave
Community

 

FROM A SECOND WAVE business perspective, no significant change can be understood unless one looks at the structure of how business is conducted. Organizational structure supplies the building blocks of business activity; it fixes the mind-set from which change is evaluated. In the Third and Fourth Waves, by contrast, organizational structure will be a consequence of business activity. To show how this transformation will come about, we first look at contemporary Second Wave models of organizational structure.

Second Wave companies, especially the large and very large corporations, are committed to hierarchical models of organizational structure.

The traditional hierarchy, with its centralized, top-down control and staff organized to serve the boss, was based on the presumption that managers know more than their subordinates. The two classes above the support staff, managers and professionals, were considered to possess fundamentally different types and amounts of knowledge than those below them in the hierarchy; and managers were to be the decisionmakers. This line of thinking, which served us well in earlier times, is no longer appropriate. Most professionals now know far more about the particulars of their products, market performance, and customers than the manager could ever hope to know. The shift in information technology and knowledge is pushing the corporation toward a fundamental change in the role of management.

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7. Ecology and Economics: Toward a Common Cause

Herman Maynard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVE

The Second Wave
Consumption

The Third Wave
Sustainability

The Fourth Wave
Preservation

 

ENVIRONMENTALISM WILL SURELY remain one of the most common themes in the public media well into the twenty-first century, as our problems with pollution, resource exhaustion, conservation, and land use continue to worsen. Because environmentalism will increasingly command the attention of both consumers and lawmakers, the prudent businessperson will respond proactively to the environmental challenge.

Specific measures will of course depend on the nature and markets of specific businesses, but fundamental to them all, regardless of field or product, is the crucial step of changing attitudes. If environmentalism as a phenomenon is teaching us anything, it is that we can no longer operate from a Second Wave perspective where we regard environmental protection as a problem or ecology as antagonistic to economics. Rethinking some of the basic assumptions that lie behind the operation of business today can present many opportunities and can offer the progressive businessperson a significant competitive advantage. In this chapter, we demonstrate how retooling our thinking can turn environmentalism into a major new business benefit.

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2. Emergence of the Fourth Wave

Herman Maynard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WORLDVIEWS

The Second Wave
We are separate and must compete

The Third Wave
We are connected and must cooperate

The Fourth Wave
We are one and choose to cocreate

 

IN HIS BOOK The Third Wave Alvin Toffler (1980), introduced the concept of history as a succession of rolling waves of change. This concept holds powerful imagery—a wave building as changes in values, beliefs, and behaviors accumulate and spread in and among societies, cresting as change becomes sufficiently deep and wide to be unstoppable, crashing down to sweep away what lies in front, and then receding with the transformation of society. Waves can collide, representing the conflict of different worldviews. When the newest one prevails, one phase of civilization is replaced by another.

Waves of change can also be viewed from the perspective of an onlooker standing in the water near shore. As a wave builds off in the distance, its beauty and power will be attractive and inspiring. As it comes closer, however, its size and force may become frightening. The observer may either embrace the wave’s beauty and power and ride it to shore or attempt to escape its fearsome force and be hammered into the surf or left by the wayside.

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10. Business in the Twenty-First Century

Herman Maynard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE FOURTH WAVE CORPORATION

Exemplar for Other Institutions

Global Citizen Acting Locally

Advocate of the Living Economy

Committed to Serve

Community of Wellness

Model of Environmental Concern

Pioneer in Appropriate Technologies

Led by Biopoliticians

 

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING VISIONS of the new corporation:

As an exemplar for other institutions in society. See us becoming aware of the contemporary shift in consciousness and working to foster it, especially recognizing the value of intuition in business and using it extensively.

As a global citizen acting locally, while thinking globally. See business responding to the pleas for democratization of the international economic order and moving to implement it. Envision the corporation sharing responsibility with its constituencies in the Third Wave and taking responsibility for the Earth as a whole and working to heal it in the Fourth Wave.

As an advocate of the living economy, practicing social and resource accounting. See business reaffirming the value of its intellectual capital, thereby boosting creativity and discovering a host of new strengths within its ranks that constantly spin off new businesses. See us working toward new forms of ownership in the future and achieving global prominence for it.

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1. Hallmarks of a Changing World

Herman Maynard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

HALLMARKS OF CHANGE

Shift in Consciousness

Disenchantment with Scientism

New (Inner) Sources of Authority and Power

Respiritualization of Society

Decline in Materialism

Spreading Political and Economic Democratization

Movement Beyond Nationality

 

TO MEET THE CHALLENGES posed by a world that is changing at an ever-increasing pace, we must let go of values, beliefs, and practices that have or shortly will become anachronistic and reformulate new ones that are congruent with changed circumstances. The first step in this process is to become acquainted with the changes that are occurring. Because change is omnipresent, it is especially important to identify those trends that promise transformative change. In this chapter we describe seven trends that we believe underlie the emergence of a new worldview.

Increasing numbers of people around the world are concluding that consciousness is primary, that the mind or spirit has a reality comparable to material objects (Harman 1988; Renesch 1991; Cook 1991; Rothschild 1991). Many have had transformative experiences (life-changing dreams, journeys inward that reveal new vistas, near-death experiences, series of intuitive knowings [Porter, n.d.]) that have led them to realize they are more than their physical body and logical mind—that there are levels of reality beyond what can be seen, touched, tasted, and smelled.

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