Organizations of the Future
The growing speed of organizational change raises several critical questions regarding future organizations and the organizations of the future. What will organizations of the future look like? How and where will we work in future? How will the image of leadership and management change as a result of continuous organizational evolution? Will we be able to retain our organizational potential?
All these questions require definite answers, and all these questions show that the continuity of organizational change is the major source of the challenges that will drive organizational development in the future. To understand, what changes will happen in the way we work and where we work, we should take a closer look at WHO will manage organizations, how KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLECTUAL POTENTIAL will change our roles as employees, and how TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT will transform organizations in the long run.
In contemporary management, organizational change can be fairly considered the stem and the foundation of the current organizational evolution. Whether in leadership or intellectual innovation, the ability to adapt to changes determines the success of all organizational initiatives in the modern business environment. Trying to define and describe future organizations, we should primarily refer to those, who are likely to become our
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In this context, special attention should be paid to the so-called “generation Y”, or those born after 1982. This generation of future managers adheres to a unique business lifestyle which is unusual to the present day businesses, but which will become a norm in future. Generation Y is skeptical, tech-savvy, informal, and more committed to self than to any other organizational realities. “They are loyal to their careers, not to any particular organization. They expect to work for a variety of different employers during their careers” (Tushman, 1997).
Through the prism of these features, future organizations are likely to be flexible, positively unstable, technological, and skeptical toward the successes of others. We are likely to appear in an absolutely new organizational environment, where doubt dominates trust, and where technology replaces the majority of traditional human functions. Future organizations will incorporate human skepticism with technological innovation, placing emphasis on the intellectual capital and emphasizing the value of employee knowledge over personal (human) value of an employee.
In organizations of the future, intellectual potential will drive technological innovation and will make business transformation the key to long-term organizational success. Beyond the changing vision of leadership, we are likely to face the challenge of incorporating the principles of knowledge management into the corporate structure of business performance. “The key to the future of any country is not in its physical resources or industrial capital; rather, it is human an intellectual capital that will fund the health and growth of nations in the future” (Tushman, 1997).
These words are equally applicable to the future generation of businesses. The companies will gradually realize the unlimited financial and non-material potential of knowledge and intellectual property, and all workplace obligations of the future will be centered on the need to manage intangible assets in the ways that maintain continuous organizational growth. I see that companies are gradually decreasing the portion of tangible assets in their share price.
In the nearest future, technological innovation will gradually move organizations beyond the value of traditional assets, and we will need to learn, how to manage the new type of intellectual resources at workplace. Intellectual capital will provide the basis for restructuring traditional workplace: being intangible, flexible, and adaptable, intellectual knowledge will no longer tie us to physical space but will form a new vision of virtual (intellectual) company that seeks diversification, innovation and change through the development and implementation of real-time intellectual networks.
These networks will ultimately replace organizations in their present day form; the intangibility of assets will gradually turn into intangibility of business as such – businesses will no longer know physical or geographical boundaries, and will be extremely flexible in their response to change. While technological advancement is changing physical image of organization and workplace, it also inevitably impacts the quality of management and innovation.
The fact is that technologies seem to outstrip human ability to manage organizations; instead of concentrating on leading, managers are compelled to struggle with new technologies that are unknown to them. In the nearest 10-20 years, we are likely to experience the two significant effects of technology on leadership. First, managers and leaders will no longer be at the organization’s top; rather, they will use technological innovations to penetrate into the remotest corners of the organizational structure.
In other words, future organizations will keep to a new vision of “free-flowing” leadership, when physical location of the leader will not impact the quality of leadership and management in organizations (Tushman, 1997). Second, I expect that future organizations will finally minimize the role of bureaucracy as the element that traditionally makes organizations static. In my view, bureaucracy is one of the most serious issues in modern structure of organizational performance; bureaucracy in its modern sense deprives us of a chance to form seamless unions between different organizational units.
The elimination of bureaucracy will become the necessary prerequisite of positive business continuity, destroying numerous traditional workplace functions and creating a variety of new ones. The bright example of Web 2. 0 suggests that we are only one step away from a new “flattened” form of workplace with flexible hierarchy and cooperation as the basis for successful business performance. The physical vision of business and workplace is being vanished and replaced with a new technological business paradigm, where “work place” turns into “work space” without any sign of physical affiliation so characteristic of the 20th century organizations.
Conclusion Leadership, intellectual capital, and technological innovation are the three essential elements, which can be used to predict the changes that are likely to occur in organizations and workplaces across the world. The nearest decade is to become the triumph of the new skeptical and self-centered type of leadership, supplemented with the growing role of intellectual capital and knowledge, and reinforced by the rapid technological advancement.
The image of the future workplace comprises the features of intangibility, flexibility, and change. In many aspects, the existence of technological real-time networks and “free-flowing” leadership style will finally replace the notion of work place with the concept of “work space”, which lacks physical boundaries and offers unlimited opportunities for organizational development and growth. References Tushman, M. (1997). Winning through innovation: a practical guide to leading organizational change and renewal. Boston: McGraw-Hill.