The only thing we can say with any certainty about management in 20 years' time is it will be substantially different from today. The question is, of course, how will it be different? And how can we adopt these new techniques before every one else does and gain a competitive edge? Well, you could do a lot worse than ask the world's top management thinkers and futurists for their views. Which is exactly what Subir Chowdhury, an executive vice president at the American Supplier Institute, has done in Management 21C.
The book is a collection of essays and speculations by the likes of Peter Senge, Sumantra Ghoshal, Barry Posner, and 23 more management heavyweights on the future of business, leadership, process, and organization. The breadth and diversity of the speculations make them almost impossible to summarize. But if there is one recurring theme, it's that management is shifting from a masculine paradigm to a feminine one. If during the bulk of the 20th century management was about male things such as certainty, predictability, competition, domination, and winning, in the 21st century it will be concerned with more ladylike traits such as uncertainty, ambivalence, change, collaboration, paradoxes, cooperation--and winning.
In his own provocative essay, Chowdury describes how new managers will have to become multiskilled, people-centered leaders whose most important task is inspiring the workforce with emotion and belief. He argues that in the next century corporate success will depend on the effective use of talent: "[T]he relentless pursuit of talent should be a main management strategy. More and more companies simply cannot recruit talent fast enough." Return on talent, he argues, will become a key business measure just like return on capital. Senior managers will ignore this thought-provoking collection of essays at their peril. --Alex Benady
From Library Journal
Chowdhury, vice president of the American Supplier Institute and coauthor of the well-received QS-9000 Pioneers: Registered Companies Share Their Strategies for Success, has compiled the views of 27 global thinkers from business and academia on management in the 21st century. In three parts, "Leadership," "Processes," and "Organization," they examine in detail a plethora of issues confronting the 21st-century leader and manager. Rosabeth Moss Kanter discusses kaleidoscopic thinking, a strength for managers who must focus on many directions in occasionally unfamiliar milieus; Barry Z. Posner and James M. Kouzes examine "Janusian leadership," the ability to look at the past to gain insight into shaping the future. Other issues addressed include the management of talent and the measuring of its return, as well as new organizational structures that accommodate the needs of professionals thriving in a world of information technology. Scholarly but readable and well documented, Chowdhury's book is a worthy addition to academic and large public libraries.DSteven J. Mayover, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia
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