Following on from yesterday’s proposition, the new disciplines of management, ‘The New Classics’ are these 10:
1. Behavioural Economics.
2. Political Marketing.
3. Network Theory.
4. Viral Change™
5. Social Movements.
6. Social /Corporate Anthropology.
7. Digital Activism.
8. Generation (and urban) anthropology.
9. Social Media technologies.
10. Critical Thinking
I introduced yesterday, very briefly, 1 and 2
As in yesterday, I will mention one single area in each, as an example, from where we can draw immediate learning and applications. It’s just one example of a rich learning from all of them, and by focusing on one aspect, I am conscious of trivializing too much. I am pointing to tips of icebergs.
3. Network Theory. Amongst other things it tells us that a Bell curve, normal distribution in the organization does not exist other than in an HR mind. Everything inside the organization (a network) follows a Power Law distribution. For example, there is a relatively small number of people with high influence and connectivity, and a large number of people with very little influence and connectivity. This can no longer be ignored. Don’t try to find a Bell curve of influence. It does not exist.
4. Viral Change™ . This is a trans-discipline that explains how to mobilize people: bottom up (not top down), behaviours-based (not information based), peer-to-peer (not hierarchical channels), bottom up storytelling (not top down ‘stories from above’) and Backstage Leadership™ , the art of supporting from the back, not upfront with the powerpoints. Plenty of this here.
5. Social Movements. Organizational culture is an ‘internal social movement’, or isn’t. So we’d better learn from people who have run these. Key learning: you have to cater for a multitude of motivations, but be very clear about the non-negotiable (behaviours). In traditional management, our obsessive ‘alignment’ needs to be redefined. Also, ‘Rebels’ need a cause and a direction, as opposed to the fashionable thinking that having passionate people, rebels and mavericks in a room, will change the company. Yes, but you may not be able to recognise it.
6. Social/Corporate Anthropology. Hardly new. However, life in the organization can be understood in terms of rituals, tribes, identities, kinship and other anthropological concepts. And, suddenly, it all makes sense! Anthropology is the forgotten discipline in management. A beautiful discipline if it were not for the anthropologists who often speak an incomprehensible language. Corporate Anthropology is also a forgotten discipline, more complex than doing a PhD on South Seas tribes to be followed by a post on consumer behaviour for Unilever.
7. Digital Activism. This teaches us about rapid mobilization and large scale effects. Also about the differences between champions, ambassadors, advocates (and click-tivists), and activists. These are differences that we don’t understand or use well in the traditional view of corporate life, where these concepts have been commoditised. I don’t want more ambassadors. The company is not an Internal Diplomatic Service. Personally, give me activists, who actually act. But the only time we use the term (other than in Viral Change™) is to refer to employees engaging externally on behalf of the employer. Activists are not ambassadors who click and ‘like’ and say how good my company is.
8. Generation ( and urban) anthropology. There is less difference between a Chinese teenager and a French teenager, than a Chinese company and a French company. In organizations we are still stuck in a rather old ‘cultural (national) distinctions’ and frames which don’t predict much anymore. How you handle Millennials, for example, is today more important than understanding ‘German’s power distance’
9. Social Media technologies. Digital is not a suit of toys. We need to distinguish between building an audience and building a community, between push and pull mechanisms, and the differences between connectivity and collaboration.
10. Critical Thinking. Two things here: (1) It can be taught, and (2) in the traditional management of organizations we are in very short supply. At the very least it is about (a) learning the art of questioning, how to be disciplined in inquiring and (b) avoiding/managing fallacies and biases. It’s a praxis. It gets better and better when practising and when establishing some of these practices across the organization, at a scale.
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