WSJ: The End of Management

I had an opportunity to read this article authored by Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor Alan Murray. He recently published a book, The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management. This article appeared on Wall Street journal on august 21, 2010. The main point of the author is that the concept of the corporate management was a great tool to organize people and allocate resources for the complex tasks in the 20th century and is now become obsolete. I completely agree.

I believe the society’s needs were increasing over the decades, but the available resources are not par with the increasing needs. This made the society greedier to capture the limited resources. The corporations who fed the rise of global middle class are now destroying the middle class. The same corporations who portrayed themselves as the champions of free market in fact created ways to get around the rules that made them corporations. The corporate management created a huge bureaucracy which is not capable enough to be flexible to the current rapid globalization, accelerating innovations, and relentless competitions.

As Clayton Christensen wrote in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma, the traditional corporate management studied the market, listened to the customer, and allocated the resources to capitalize the trends. But they missed the disruptive innovations that created new markets and opened up new customers. Another trend is the increasing complicated enterprises like Wikipedia and Linux operating system where there is no corporate management structure that runs the enterprise.

I think people want to be more intrinsically motivated in their work. That may be the reason they are not engaged in their work that reward a salary. Some dynamic organizations, like Google allow their employees to spend 20% of their time to work in any innovative products without competing for funds. The question in front of us is, can the traditional corporate management survive in the 21st century. I believe no. I don’t have any solid solution, but I believe that more wisdom at work will cure at least some of the deficiencies.


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