Are We Going “Back to the Future” In Researching Management?

Summing Up Jim Heskett's readers wonder whether the best business management ideas over the next decade will be for cleaning up the messes from the previous one. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens March 10)

Summing Up

Our forward projections often reflect what we have just experienced. Responses to the question, "What will be the single most promising area of research or study in the next 10 years?," reflect issues that fall into the same categories—management of information technology, leadership, governance, innovation management, the networking of organizations, and social responsibility—as the "single most important development(s) in the area of management in the just-ended decade of the new century."

Developments in information technology ranked high among advances of the past decade, and not always for the better. Clark Phippen commented, "Over the last decade what is broadly called 'technology' (computer-based) seems to have mutated from being truly helpful to being overwhelming." Stephen Basikoti, looking forward, suggested (not in response to Phippen) that "… we will need to think deeply about how to ensure these crowds we are tapping into (through information networking) are given sufficient opportunities to learn and to properly feel engaged."

Both achievements and failures in leadership and management occupied the thoughts of many. Citing corporate scandals of the past ten years, Andrew MacLennan said that "… in the last 10 years there has been a growing recognition of the need to balance great ideas with concern for execution…" Debra Farquharson commented that this has been accompanied by "a definite shift towards empowering employees to be creative and make decisions," which she believes will continue. Penny Cortez thinks that we should see more research on why "bad leadership seems to be more common than good…" Illysa would like "more research and applicable advice on managing and leading virtually and globally." Other suggestions were for more investigation of topics such as "ethical leadership and inclusive growth" (Praveen Zala), the impact of more globally oriented and younger leaders (Jack Rivkin), and "authentic and servant leadership or rather the acute lack thereof" (Suzette van Aswegen).

Social responsibility, sustainability, and globalization were high on the list of ideas for further investigation. Pete DeLisi pulled this together in commenting that "'collective impact' is just now starting to get some traction. This is a concept in which we take collaboration to the level of megacommunities from the private and public sectors working together to solve large-scale social problems." Others, including Jay Somasundaram, wonder about the relative roles of the private sector and governments in delivering "the best outcomes for society."

While you were pondering these questions, several HBS faculty members, including Dean Nitin Nohria, were asked to consider them as well. Their responses were as diverse as yours, often reflecting their areas of expertise. Dean Nohria's view of the most important development of the past ten years is summed up as "globalization enabled by technology." Looking forward, he anticipates more research into "applying management principles to addressing complex social problems."

Many of these responses suggest an extension of the concerns of the past 10 years into future research. Are we "fighting the last war" instead of addressing a watershed moment in leadership and management? Are we going "back to the future" in researching management? What do you think?

Original Article

At the close of the first decade of the twenty-first century, observers are both looking back at what we've accomplished so far and looking ahead to what the future brings. The Harvard Business School faculty hasn't escaped this phenomenon.

Plans have been made for a survey that will ask two questions: (1) What is the single most important development in the area of management in the just-ended first decade of the new century? and (2) What will be the single most promising area of research or study in the next 10 years?

Over the past decade a number of ideas were introduced in this column that were intended to stimulate discussions of new concepts and ideas in management and applied economics. They include a wide range of topics, including several drawn from what have come to be known as neuro economics (how managers really think and act), behavioral economics, phenomena of irrational behavior, and "nudge" economics (use of incentives to influence behavior), all of which represent non-traditional approaches to economics. Related issues have concerned immigration, trends in worker/retiree "dependency ratios," state capitalism, the role of government vis-à-vis capitalism, and the implications of a "flat" world.

In management, most recently we've looked at concepts involving transparency, alignment, authentic leadership, executive intelligence, and innovation and entrepreneurship in large organizations. The selection of leaders, "deep thought," sustainability, management succession, millennials as managers, pay for performance, "deep smarts," blink, the wisdom of crowds, management as a profession, the relevancy of business schools, pay for performance, and the importance of "know why," among others, were also topics covered here.

Going back five or more years, we were discussing such things as the end of cheap oil, the exportation of jobs, work-life issues, the importance of attitude versus skills in work, marketing productivity, "judo management," the innovator's dilemma, the accountability of boards of directors, ways of hard-wiring performance, merger and acquisition value destruction, and NAFTA.

I'm especially proud of several topics from early on: Have We Overdone Deregulation and Privatization? (December, 2000), Whither the Information Economy? (September, 2000), and Will Information Technology Really Turn Organizations Upside Down This Time? (October, 2001).

Now I would like to pose these same questions to the readers of this column. After all, you've had nearly 130 monthly columns to help you prepare. What is the one development in management in the last 10 years that you feel overshadows the others? Based on what we know now, what is the one management subject we should be researching and studying that will be of greatest promise in the next 10 years? What do you think?

    • Rohit Ravichander
    • Analyst
    I believe the most important management discussion in the future would be stemming from Social Entrepreneurship. This would ential focus on the third sector or growth in importance of roles played by NGO's in fostering social develoment process. This would lead to move from a Freidman model to a more inclusive growth for the private sector. Additionally with governments facing huge deficits and pressure on fiscal budgets would need to focus on future economic indicators.
    • CJ Cullinane
    To name the one most important innovation of the past decade is a tough assignment but one that deserves to be explored. First I am sorry to say we had more failures in innovation (mostely financial "innovations") than we have had successes. After much pondering I believe that online learning, not just education, is the huge innovation that will impact society and business in the future.

    I say this because without the expenditure of gas for transportation, heat/ cooling for separate structures, and the ability to meet and serve any time schedule we can learn and interface with leaders and teachers (i.e. Dr. Heskett) at our convenience.

    With money tight and available time even tighter we can all learn and study on our own schedule and still be able to work and earn a living. With the major changes occurring in our economy and society and the lack of skilled/educated workers I believe this is essential.

    Second place for me is Robotics! But I will not bore you with my thoughts.

    As for further academic research by the scholars at Harvard I would suggest two areas. One is the economic impact of government regulations on workers (I stress economic). The second is the impact of a huge debt load over time on a society, not only economics but also living standards. Just a thought.

    Thank you for an interesting subject to exercize the dendrites! Charlie Cullinane
    • Anonymous
    You should discuss your research idea with Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak - they're working on organizational decision making over on the HBR Blogs, and wrote a book along these lines over 5 years or so ago - I believe it was called "What's the Big Idea" about management ideas.
    • Chris R
    • Director of Services
    All very interesting but I would like to explore the how's and why's of the current economic mess. I alos think that Servant Leadership should be an overarching theme for the foreseeable future. I have had the pleasure of working with some truly inspiring leaders that took the servant concept quite seriously and even further than just the workplace but into the marketplace and beyond. While corporations are by their very nature focused on ROI, the impact of leadership well beyond the board room serves companies, communities and the world while adding value and profits. Let's start this new era with a discussion about a formula that not only serves to drive corporate profits but also raises all standards of behavior.
    • Dave
    I don't know what the most overshadowing management devleopment has been in the last 10 years. However, in the next 10 years I think we need to figure out how to use the vast information we have available to make better, smarter decisions with less emotions. In essence, learn how to get out of our own way.
    • David Wittenberg
    • CEO, The Innovation Workgroup
    The big buzzword of the decade was innovation, and the advances in the field gave managers the frameworks and tools they need to avoid obsolescence in a world characterized by changes unprecedented in their scope and pace.

    Works by Clayton Christensen, Tom Kelley, Edward DeBono, Vijay Govindarajan and others capped 40 years of academic and field research with cogent explanations of the concepts. Consultancies rated companies on innovation. Corporations added innovation to their slogans and ads. There was much thought, much talk, and a fair amount of action, beginning in the US and Europe, and later extending to Asia.

    Unfortunately, management ideas come and go, and few produce pervasive and long-term benefits. Very few companies have made wholesale changes as a result of the work of management experts. By 2010, economic and political developments diverted the attention of managers. Only time will tell whether the past decade's work on innovation will deliver improved results for many, or for only a few.
    • Andrew MacLennan
    • Managing Director, Strategy Execution Ltd
    I expect research and attention to turn further towards strategy execution in the next 10 years. I'm keenly aware that interest in systematically managing the execution of strategy has been dwarfed by the focus on strategy creation on one hand and a wide range of rather disconnected operations and people issues on the other.

    However, in the last 10 years there is has been growing recognition of the need to balance great ideas with concern for execution, and coordinate operations better to ensure they sustainably produce the right outcomes. The corporate scandals and global financial crisis have colorfully demonstrated this need.

    I'm encouraged partly by the focus in the last decade on evidence-based management. It has driven thought leaders and practitioners alike to consider how well management ideas really work when the 'rubber hits the road'.
    • Charles Chosewood
    • Private in the Rear Rank, Auto dealership
    You must manage with Leadership; not intimidation or by
    right of inheritance. You're not a "Royal" so recognize and speak to your employees when you pass by them. Commend the good and correct the bad as a leader not a God!

    Some advice from the Trenches
    • Philippe Gouamba
    • Vice President of Human Resources, Skyline Windows, LLC
    Professor Heskett, finally you have challenged us with a question that is no-brainer.

    It seems as if life and business are now moving at warp speed and business is rapidly losing track of key basic fundamentals. The management subjects we all should be studying and applying are HONESTY, RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY. Students have the right to ask "how honest do I have to be?" They should ask how much responsibility should I shoulder for a decision is reached in committee. They may also ask how long will I be held accountable for a decision I make today. Or, will my successor hold me accountable for questionable decision I have made. These are all worthy topics of discussion.

    Without these basic values in place we are lost as a society. All too often, executives get to play, sometimes recklessly, with someone else's money. The S & L scandal can't be forgotten; the sub-prime lending scandal can't be forgotten, the recent bail-outs can't be forgotten. There is a general pervasive malaise in the American economy stemming from how easy it is to pass the buck. AIG is a case in point with one bail-out followed by another. After coming to within inches of an embarrassing demise, we are beginning to see a healthy return to HONESTY, RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUTABILITY in the American Auto Industry. In my work in Human Resources (the most regulated profession in the US) I dare not be dis-honest, irresponsible or un-accountable because my actions affect other people's lives and should I stray, I will surely be made to answer for my actions and decisions. A moral burden needs to apply to every single person that conducts any sort of business in America; ever
    y single one!
    • Debra Farquharson, BBM, CA
    • President & CEO, The Turnaround Team
    I believe the most important growth area in management has been the greater awareness of the significance of investing in "human capital" and understanding "what makes a good leader". In the last half century, there has been a definite shift towards empowering employees to be creative and make decisions, vs autocratic & authoritarian in terms of management styles with a focus on "leadership" vs "management". I believe this will continue as both leaders and investors recognize and experience the payback of creating a positive work environment. I know who I would rather work for!
    • Lawrence Nwaru
    • Head, Field Research, TNSRMS (Nigeria)
    There is no further question about it - the last decade dwealt extensively on the theoretical framework of Innovation and Change management. The challenge of the next decade would be to focus on developing enterprenuership skills from talent management. Every time we speak about this, people console themselves with the illusion that all of us cannot be enterpreneurs. The high rate of unemployment, the mass of people seeking employment but could not find and yet you find people leaving organisations to waste the latent and skills acquired over the years doing something that is very different from what they had known over the years. There is need to find a solution to this. I doubt if the context is different from what happens in the developed economies, but this pitiable situation is very much felt in the developing economies. Africa is a typical case in point. The college curriculum tend to shy away from imparting enterpren
    ural skills to graduates before pushing them into the world of work. It is indeed a challenge that we must find a solution to.
    • Paul T. Jackson
    • Owner/Information Consultant, Trescott Research
    I certainly concur with Philippe Gouamba above as to the direction of education and training in the next decade.

    As to the most significant ideas of management of the last decade, I don't think there were any "significant" ideas; most were ideas from the far past that others had forgotten existed. There were certainly significant trends that surfaced such as "get there as fast as you can, no matter what you do or how you do it," but little else in business management.

    More importantly there were some significant developments in the education field in studying what we know and how we know it, and some of the problems created when one uses such mechanics as "most cited works" as criteria for placing value on articles/research which happen only because access is easier, rather than finding the gems of information and research buried elsewhere in others' research, and actually looking at the data of research that has spawned spurious conclusions.

    The future requires that we spend more time in learning to dig in and find useful information among the masses of digital online information, much repeated, which managers might be able to use for decisions...rather than that which is easiest to locate.
    Some of that information is there waiting to be used; such as demographic information often forgotten in a plunge to make more money when buyers are not going to be there.
    • David Z.
    I see three.

    1. Data-driven Decision-Making. Moving from hypothesis driven decision-making to data driven decision-making. It makes a lot of sense to see what data tells us about markets, people, companies and comb though actual data to find opportunities instead of coming up with essentially guesses that require expensive trial and error efforts in time and resources from the ground up to validate. This doesn't mean we can't hypothesize about the data. It simply means we start at points that allow us a higher probability of success than starting at square one.

    2. Increasing Empathy. Any practices that increase empathy, i.e. listening and questioning skills are included here. Companies don't do business with companies - people do business with people. In today's day and age that means understanding regions, countries, cities, communities and individuals across the globe.

    3. Sustainability. In the context of creating in a way where we're not poisoning/bankrupting ourselves and others is simply a smart long-term suvival strategy. While there are no guarantees, I would place my bets by living and working in a world focused on creating the conditions for long-term sustainability. I consider this a far better alternative than one where we continue to create problems for future generations to to suffer under and find solutions to.
    • Penny Cortez
    • Manager
    For all the theory that exists, we are in a leadership crisis. Over the last decade, we have seen the degradation of leadership in business, politics, and religions. We are complacent and accept poor leadership. The system is out of balance. Research on why bad leadership seems to be more common than good leadership would be an interesting project. Case in point: How many good supervisors/managers have you had in your career?
    • Pete DeLisi
    • President, Organizational Synergies
    I'm humbled by the challenge, but as a strategy guy, I'm inclined to look outside the changes at macro forces that shape society, business thinking and organizations. Newtonian thinking has shaped organizations and thinking for the past several hundred years. We see it in the specialization of academic disciplines and in the functional silos of corporations. Quantum physics has shown us that the world is much more interconnected and interdependent than that. In the last decade, we have seen increasing evidence of this with networked organizations and the current emphasis on collaboration at all levels.

    The concept of "collective impact" is just now starting to get some traction. Ths is a concept in which we take collaboration to the level of megacommunities from the private and public sectors wotrking together to solve large-scale social problems. I think this will be a major trend during the next decade, because it combines a major scientific shift with a growing social concern.
    • Gerald Nanninga
    • VP, Retail Ventures, Inc.
    Nearly all businesses are in the fashion (or fad) business and management education is no different. In fact, management theories tend to be more fad oriented than average. They come and go with great regularity, shifting direction faster than the shift in hemlines.

    Therefore, looking for the single most important development in management in the past decade requires looking beyond fads and looking for concepts which endure and transcend the latest business fashion...creating a real change in how businesses operate.

    To me, that would be the idea that Boards of Directors should actually earn their pay by taking responsibility for the condition a company is in. In the last century, we accepted the notion that it was okay for boards to be little more than rubber stamps. Now we expect them to get involved, challenge what is going on, and truly be independent. This change in board expectations (and the debate over the best way for boards to get more involved) was probably the greatest contribution of the past 10 years.

    As for the next 10 years, I would like to see more attention given to compensation/rewards. If people act based on how they are rewarded, then the best way to get desired outcomes is to create the appropriate rewards. If we truly want outcomes like Honesty, Responsibility, Accountability, Real Leadership, Effective Innovation, Social Responsibility, or whatever else, then we need to understand how to link them to rewards which encourage these outcomes. Governments and the Public are not very happy with the idea of just giving executives big checks. However, at this time, we do not have an acceptable alternative. We need more research into non-traditional compensation which will satisfy all stakeholders as well as create desired outcomes.
    • Clark Phippen B'62
    • Director, EnerTech Capital
    Over the last decade what is broadly called "technology" (computer-based) seems to have mutated from being truly helpful to being overwhelming. I think of it as formerly liking an occasional drink of water to having to grow fins and gills to learn to swim in it. A future study area is how business once again controls and positively uses new technology.
    • Charles Savage
    • President, KEE International
    Two Challenges:
    1. How do we build a low-carbon economy that is still lively, meaningful and has an exchange of income?

    2. We are exporting our Western MBA model to India, China, and elsewhere, but never pause and ask, what is the wisdom of these cultures that we could build into and enrich our own models? As I teach in India I've been struggling with how to reconnect with the Dharma or in China it might be the TAO.

    Who are working on either in the West?
    • Charles Savage
    • President, KEE International
    Two Challenges:
    1. How do we build a low-carbon economy that is still lively, meaningful and has an exchange of income?

    2. We are exporting our Western MBA model to India, China, and elsewhere, but never pause and ask, what is the wisdom of these cultures that we could build into and enrich our own models? As I teach in India I've been struggling with how to reconnect with the Dharma or in China it might be the TAO.

    Who are working on either in the West?
    • Robert Hartl
    • Associate Professor of Management, The College of St. Scholastica
    I believe we would be wise to explore the provocative prescription that Edgar Schein puts forth in his recent book "Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help." Schein wrote the following:

    "As leaders interact with others, they must realize that the best way to improve the organization is to create an environment of mutual help and to demonstrate their own helping skills in their dealings with others in the organization. Though it may seem counterintuitive to see one's subordinates as clients who have to be helped to succeed in their job, in fact, this is the most appropriate way to lead an organization."

    Ed's theme in "Helping" is really just an extension to his philosophy of process consultation, but he makes the case that today's leaders must develop those capabilities if they are to succeed. I certainly agree with him.
    • Kapil Kumar Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC(India) Private Limited
    The most significant ideas in management, yesterday, today or tomorrow hinge around the act of managing
    everything from womb to tomb. Right from when there is a thought of creating what has to be managed, actualising the thought by making the creation happen, its step by step growth and its maturity to deliver desired fruits, management is the core. Also, in the unfortunate situation of decay and death,there again comes the role of management. However, no entity is formed with this final stage in view. Rather, all work to see that this does not happen.
    We need a sustainable inclusive growth. For this to happen, managers need to focus on the moral and ethical conduct, giving greed and unwarranted wrong practices a go by.Corruption and fraud are eating the vitals and management has to guard against such trends. Considering that human resources mean a lot as drivers of the plans of action, talent (knowledge as well as skills wise) management assumes a very important role.Great leadership has to be developed so that real success is achieved.
    Focused marketing and customer satisfaction(delight) are still important areas.
    High level technological growth has also made systems vulnerable to grave risks. This is yet another important and significant idea for the attention of management.
    • Benjamin R Stockton
    • CEO, STS International, Inc
    Blur. Without citation, I mention the experience of the past decade more than a particular book.

    However, the idea of the triple bottom line for business, the general critique of capitalistic economic forms, and the introduction of a "human face" into business may turn out to be, if not invented in this past decade, still the most important trend. 2005 was the UN "Year of Micro Credit," Professor Yunus won a Nobel Prize, and CK Prahalad drew our attention to the presence of a large under served market at the "bottom of the pyramid."

    At this writing, much progress has been made but there are still more than 1 billion people whose state of existence is so poor as to barely be human, much less humane. There are another 4 billion that are still egregiously poor, while just under 2 billion of us are richer than most kings of the 19th century.

    I believe that the single most important management challenge of the coming decade is to figure out how to achieve the high yield and high productivity of our most successful business models while finding ways to include the whole human race in the benefits of a "middle class" standard of living, that they may achieve a sense of well being in their lives without necessarily emulating those in the Western economies.

    It boggles my mind to imagine all the things that need to be discovered, invented or constructed...
    • Anonymous
    I agree with many of the ideas presented above. However, I there is a new challenge that will emerge within the next 10 years as how to keep large organizations stable with the dynamic political and cultural environments and an ever present ethnic and culturally diverse workforce. New leadership is often celebrated as an opportunity but can also be de-stabilizing as organizational values and leadership styles are not understood or perceived the same way.
    This is clearly distinct from the technical aspect of organizational structure and policies which will also be effected.
    • Anonymous
    As a student of history, I suspect it will be many more decades before we know what the most compelling management issue of the recent past decade will be. If I were to hazard a guess, as you have so temptingly asked, I would say that what has been said most often and most obviously by the smartest and most well informed of us, would be the likeliest candidate. Namely, that Management's use of technology, perhaps already in place, to increase productivity in the face of poor pricing power and limited market growth had created the greatest increase in productivity in our history.

    We perhaps forget that the Alan Greenspan of the late 90's and early turn of the century was known much more for his comments on productivity gains and the use of technology, than his later exhortations about "irrational exuberance". We shouldn't also forget that the greatest fortunes of the age were made by those who created and distributed technology (e.g. Bill Gates) and those who sold more for less (ala Sam Walton). I suspect that these currents will continue to evolve in this decade, and that a most interesting HBS case can be made -- if it hasn't already -- from studying the decline of the small-town bookstore due to the emergence of Barnes & Noble and Border's Bookstores, and their subsequent demise, even more precipitously, by the brilliant mind's and management behind
    • Rod Rodriguez
    • Associate, C3TS Consulting
    Salient developments in corporate culture over the last decade included what can be considered as the "What's-in-it-for-me", or the "How quickly can I turn a profit", or the "Profit at any cost" culture. This get-rich-quick and take-take-take attitude has cost us dearly, with a huge erosion of corporate ethics, little accountability for actions, and, I believe, ultimately, in the economic fix we are in. If we have learned anything from the last decade, this new decade should bring us home, with a swing of the pendulum to ethical leadership, accountability, increased social consciousness, and more living by the Golden Rule. If I'm wrong, then we haven't learned anything and history will repeat itself. Please remind me in 9 or so years to check my moral compass.
    • Anonymous
    Two eminent scientists (one in Australia and one, the head of the British Royal Society) have flatly predicted that the human race will render itself extinct within 100 years, and we have now gone too far to stop this. I'm not sure that we should be discussing much else until we have sorted this one out.
    • James Raj
    • Vice President, BNYMellon India
    I think one of the significant influences during the last decade was social networking. It has transformed (still transforming) the way we do business. It has brought lot of brains together, it has also helped to share the information across very quickly. It even helped people in organizing revolutions etc. In the next decade also social networking promises a lot for the corporations and others.
    • Gay N Gooen
    • Principal, Strategies For Success, Inc.
    I agree with the quote from the colleague above me -- and as we attempt to "create an environment of mutual help," we need to address the fact that we've asked for innovation from our staff people and managers for a while now, but we have rarely created opportunities for them to learn how to be innovative.

    Innovation occurs in an environment that is open to extensive dialogue, experimentation and creativity. How many of our organizations allow and encourage these kinds of endeavors? What must we do to build individuals and teams who value the process of innovation and encourage creative thinking and experimentation within teams?

    I suggest that our challenges still lie in the realm of communicating these kind of thoughts to our staff members and managers, and then finding myriad ways to actually build and encourage truly creative thinking -- that results in innovation.
    • Bal Ram Chapagain
    • Senior Trainer and Advisor, National Business Initiative (NBI), Nepal
    I believe that the next decade would focus on personal social responsibility (PSR) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) for both peace and prosperity. However, the new paradigm of CSR would move towards sustainability from philanthropy.

    CSR would be the business of not only the businesses but also the governments and other stakeholders -- even in third world countries.
    • Stephen Ozoigbo
    • Consultant, Consultant
    I believe that the effects of Behavioral Economics(Finance), Data Driven Decision Making and the underlying principles of Human Capital Management represent a triple threat for what could be seen as the future of management.

    The flatness of the world and the mobility between nations is also going a long way to break down historical barriers of cross cultural management practices.
    • Marlis Krichewsky
    • Researcher on management education, CIRPP
    If you are looking for just ONE essential idea I think it's the introduction of WISDOM into management and management education. That means reflective managers, sensitivity to others' and the planet's needs, creative thinking: a difficult to define mix of mindsets (Mintzberg), soft skills and multiple intelligences (Gardner and Goleman). The future (or the end) of Humans are Humans. That's why education is key.
    • Allen Roberts
    • CEO, StrategyAudit
    Challenging question, in my view a simple answer: The way enterprises, and the behaviour and cultures that run them are evolving to accommodate the explosion of collaboration tools and heightened expectation of transparency to give us new collaborative behaviour. From simple stuff around the water cooler, to cross functional, cross geography, and open management and innovation systems, the way we collaborate, and the importance of collaboration has changed the world.
    The benefits that will flow from this evolution are only just being recognised.
    • Dr Nikhil Zaveri
    • Director, SEMCOM Institute, India
    In my opinion, management of business will be driven by "Environment Centric Framework". Hence the most significant idea would be to evolve an integrated framework which would help organisations to do business with the lowest possible adverse environmental impact. The framework will invovle internal as well as external stakeholders. Product and process will be driven by the framework. Whatever innovation or decision, but, it will end with a last question - whether this will have positive or negative impact on the environment.
    • Hugh Quick
    • retired, none
    I have been trying to get someone (especially HBS) to review current capitalist practises, like the limited liability company and the imbalance between shareholder and employee. I am not anti-capitalist but current practises have developed over many centuries and are not always appropriate today.
    • Abhishek Syal
    • Founder, President, ARISE (Act to Rise for Innovation in Special Education)
    I believe that in the digital age it will be vital for Leaders as to how to manage Information, and not just manage, but create meaningful information and more than that, create visions and perspectives on their information (which is produced by innovatively processing raw data).

    It remains to be seen, how they could stay transparent, along with cutting the 'information overload'.
    • Julian
    • Director, CRIC Commercial
    The idea that social responsibility and ethical behaviour do not necessarily reduce profit but may positively influence the revenue line and reduce other costs if managed strategically

    In the next ten years will the impact of better communication technologies eventually lead to a major disaggregation of large businesses which eventually will become networks of contracts. An old idea which might eventually have it's day!
    • Dominique
    • NED, various
    James thanks for the question. Ideas in management, we have a lot, books we have a lot, but what is unacceptable is the widening gap between ideas and realities...and it is accelerating. The more knowledge we have, the more communication tools we have, the more disconnect we see between theory and day to day practice. The world is connected but individualism and cynicism prevails, society fabrics gets looser. I have been the witness of "speaking with candor" becoming an exception, same as acting for the common good. Politicians only think about being reelected, financial world creates artificial value and is sending millions of people to unemployment (and does not suffer the consequences of it, so we teach that stealing millions is better than stealing an apple), publicly listed companies windowdress their business results and the market is not aware of real fundamentals or economics....I could go on and on, key question
    for me is how to reconciliate the people with the system they live in, and give again priority to the common good, the future of our planet, our we are going to get various leaderships to walk the talk....the world has become fake and people want honesty
    • Patrick Roche
    • Organizational Cynic, Right Foot Consultant Group
    Looking at your list of topics covered in just this past decade leaves one question for me: Why do we constantly run from one management fad to the next when they all claim to be the key to success?

    My theory is that quality leadership trumps trends or systems.

    It is encouraging to me that management trends embrace simple ideas like flattening of hierarchy and open communication. When you get down to it, these concepts are just an extension of the golden rule. Why is it still such a surprise that people respond favorably to mutual respect and being treated fairly?

    Why then do so many of these fads/trends/systems/books cum training packages for sale fall short? In my humble opinion it is more often than not the failure of leaders to practice what they preach.

    I encourage you to make your next research project a look at failed management programs and the "hypocrisy correlation" (Ooh, that sounds like a sweet buzzword/book title. Please give me credit in the foreward.)
    • Phil Clark
    • Clark & Associates
    I see a great deal mentioned on the abuses of business and its influence on todays world. Early in history, abuse of employees by business resulted in labor unions. As things improved the influrence of unions waned. Now we have seen economic abuses much as mentioned by Dominic and others, the new world of social meeting may prove more potent than even past unions. That may be a blessing and a curse. The battle may not be over dollars for survival, it may be over effective communications. The danger lies in the fact that falsehoods as well as truths whip through the channels of the social media equally fast. It may be a scary future where both good companies and bad suffer or succeed by what is said about them more than how the company is managed.
    • Tom Dolembo
    • Founder, New North Institute
    Tough question. I think the destructuring of the secretive heirarchical organization via disgust with management corruption, lots of entrepreneurs, social media, wikileaks, the vast free exchange of information and the shattering of global barriers to knowledge is the most important business event. The most productive research will be in how this vast global learning machine works to build enterprise in freeform. HBS will have to see its mission turned inside out, where its exclusive gateways to power come from the learning machine, not just from a tiered classroom. I'd name it an Era of Constant Adaptation.
    • Anonymous
    while the innovations in management in the just ended first decade are quite large in number, conceptually but nothing significant has happened in co-creation of value for an inclusive growth. All the business models have been focussed on physical delivery of goods/services by pushing them to the consumer.

    The real challenge innovation is required, in my view, creating the business models in the agri supply chain, connecting the farmer with the end consumer technology as an enabler for scalability and yet for customised product / service. Models developed by individual companies have limited scope for scalability and there fore remain isolated.
    • Joe Violette
    • Project Manager-Retired, Bechtel--Retired
    We must not ever forget that people are the most important ingredient to successful leadership. Technology is an important aid but it is people that execute the plan. The true leader must have the ability to pick the right people for his/her team, create working environment based on trust that fosters open discussion. Don't be afraid to delegate. The leader doesn't know it all and cannot execute by themselves. I think we may depend too much on technology. The successful leader must always remember they are in responsible charge and cannot blame failure on a computer/robot or whatever.
    • NRO
    • VP, REWC
    Two words: Requisite Organization
    • Ravindra Edirisooriya
    • Senior Accounting and Finance Major, Missouri Southern State University
    I remember 1990s, I remember 2000 (Y2K) and I remember the decade of 2010. What were we thinking in 1990, 2000 and 2010? In 1990 we were thinking of suburbia and the urban sprawl. The city planning blue print was great, the auto was (and still is) the center of our lives and commuting to work in the city was acceptable, the internet and computing power were toddlers. Not many would entertain a serious thought of an energy crisis, renewable energy, mass transportation and hybrid or electric compact cars as necessary. Fuel efficiency and green house gases were not burning concerns in our minds. We were scared of Y2K and we expected the banking system to go haywire at the strike of the new millennium. We sweated over how we were going to rewrite millions of code lines with two digits to four digits for the year. Some of these programs were complied and we ran with the canned programs not knowing who when what was changed and which ve
    rsion we were running. Some were expecting the world to end. We were ready as best as we can, some systems failed but we survived. We the people of USA were economically and militarily dominant, the only super power of the world standing. Our free market model was humming and China and India were distant images in the horizon. Our foreign policy was might is right. Is it still? Then enter the scar of (2001) nine eleven, the world as we knew changed. Some say we started the war on terrorism on that fateful day. We went after the perpetrators and we are still after them after spending trillions of dollars and counting. At least in hind sight should we not do a benefit cost analysis? After years of splurging on borrowed money in the last decade, them Republicans have tuned into the saints of fiscal conservatism now. Better late than never! We had the Bush doctrine and the four gentlemen wanting to democratize the Middle East and quenching our addiction to oil as the hidden age
    nda in our foray into Iraq. At what cost? Our inner cities were falling apart but the will was not there. In most of the decade of 2010, our hands off (look mom!) free market model with ever increasing deregulation was the norm which brought us to the door step of financial system annihilation, to be bailed out by the government (society). Did deregulation, apathy, negligence or greed play a role in our run away gulf oil well disaster? You be the judge. Is that shrimp good to eat now after all the toxic soap we added? Do we want more of it in the new decade?

    I had the pleasure of discovering Professor Heskett's "What do you think?" series in the middle of last year. I have a goldmine of his past columns to read! So what are the most significant ideas in management in the next decade? Something untold (or said enough) is that it is a basic human right to have a livelihood for every human born on this earth or are we treating some humans inhumanely? (We hear about the human rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion) If a livelihood is not possible, the governments' of the people for the people have a duty to provide basic sustenance and health care to the people. Now they will jump on it as a liberal idea and they will say that it is the responsibility of the society and not the government. Government is a part of the society. Also, they will say it is a disguise to redistribute wealth and they will forget that the profits were made on the backs of competitive (cheap) labor, use of limited world
    resources and unpaid costs of externalities. The question is how does the world provide a livelihood to all humans (not just some Americans but all Americans, Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, Russians, Sri Lankans, and etc ...) in a free market economy?
    • Col Surendra Arya
    • Chief Mentor, Perspectives Unlimited
    The greatest thought, meriting great care in right understanding and right execution, is the "seamless integration" of vocation, management, and leadership at the individual and organization level. The business model, irrespective of what we do, has to be based on a sound value system focusing on moral, ethical and legal living. "Personal achievements" will have to give way to "accomplishments together".
    • Anonymous
    There are significant shifts in what is driving economies of the future. The key metaphors that represent this world are the age of unreason and the invisible continent. These represents areas that need to be analysed, the internet and the unpredictable drivers of the new economy.

    For instance volatility in North Africa is a reflection of unexpected changes in politics within a globalizing economy. It appears there are prospects to consider the effect of social disruption i.e. the growing angst and needs of the general populace versus the macro generalized perspectives.

    It appears the general populace at household level are changing rapidly in the next 5-10 years. Hence it is important the fundamental management subjects like innovation and diversity need to be considered at micro level in comparison to macro theories.
    • Shann Turnbull
    • Principal, International Institute of Self-governance
    To answer your first question I would respond with your suggestion of "neuro economics (how managers really think and act)" even though it is little recognized by your colleagues and by practitioners.

    To answer your second question I nominate research into how to create and manage the most effective and resilient organizational structures from the insights provided by understanding (a) the physical neurological limits of processing data and (b) the way our minds are programmed to act in contrary, inconsistent and illogical ways.

    Instead of the MBA program trying to train, educate and/o re-program the neurological responses of managers; courses will be created to design organizational structures that can constructively utilize the way nature has designed the brains of social animals to operate and take account of their operating limits (to avoid the concerns of responses 23 & 40 above).

    The result will profoundly change the nature of organizations including government as envisaged by Dee Hock the founding CEO of VISA International. Hierarchies will be replaced by networks of almost self-governing modules as described by Herbert Simon in his famous 1962 lecture on how nature creates and manages complexity and why evolution constructed "the architecture of complexity" as found in our brains.
    • Illysa
    • Principal, Strategy and Training Partners,LLC
    I'd like more research and applicable advice on managing and leading virtually and globally. How do we inspire across distance and culture? How do we manage without being on an airplane constantly? How do we navigate the ethical implications of working in countries where the laws do not protect workers and environment? How do we teach our employees how to communicate, persuade, guide, direct, delegate, debate, disagree, engage, and collaborate using electronic tools? How do we build trust -- so critical to employee loyalty, engagement, and commitment? How do we ensure their decisions fit with our organization's values and culture?

    These challenges hold back some great innovators such as RIM and Apple who try to centralize design but have only so much space in which to work and can find only so many employees in one place.

    Also, how do we promote business growth -- selling more things to more people -- while protecting the earth? I know this sounds simplistic, but if everyone in India starts brushing their teeth with toothpaste, where will all the toothpaste tubes go?
    • Anonymous
    Forward: As we move ahead to the white water business envirnonment business leaders must contend with the impact and transparancy of social media. It has toppled governments and brought organizations to their knees.

    Looking back I would say the most significant idea in the management fieldwas that of Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith.
    • Jeff Schur
    • Persident, Rockland Consultants
    The most significant challenge is management agility in the digital age.

    This will be mission critical due to rapidly moving unanticipated events transmitted in real time by social media like Twitter..

    Egypt is an example of how quickly and radically things can change politically, but powered by the instant technology of social media they have an instant effect on management. Who would have thought a great manager for Google would be in jail the next day and what happens to the business model overnight.

    News of recalls on Toyota spreqds virally and not all viral information is accurate but on the web, tonnage becomes truth. The new findings that there were no computer defects reported today in the NYT will not go viral as there is no sensation in the good news. But if Toyota management do not respond and create their own viral truth, the web remains a permanent record of bad news. So management needs to apply newton's second law of motion in the new decade and create and equal and opposite reaction to action taken that has negative implications for the company.

    Mangement will need to invest in ethnogrphic data tracking to monitor the conversations much the way intelligence agencies do, in order to measure building or waning customer conversations and adjust communication in real time and anticipate response according to the "chatter".

    This will need to become a serious top management responsibility and not left to the "Digital Dudes" and PR people in the company.
    • Otto Jansen van Vuuren
    • CEO, AAMD Consultants
    The increase our profit margins motive will still reign supreme. However as indicated by Prof. A Tiwana Businesses are realising that the knowledge, positive attitudes and innovativeness they require to maintain and improve the profit margin motive reside in the heads of their employees. This is also the last sustainable "asset" that can be turned over more frequently than inventory can for example.
    • Anonymous
    A lot of the reviewers before have covered some of the thoughts, I would like to reiterate that question needs to be on the "Ethics" and "Responsibility", it is very easy to get tempted with the money part of it and however much one earns it is not enough the "bane" has been the "Greed" which has caused "scandals" world over. Challenge for the next decade and further would be education of these thoughts and what is the difference one can bring in. To this extent one should not ask "how much money" is making we need a "Forbes list" of contributions (which is harder) than "money made". Every year once the management placements are over, there is a big news item on what was the highest paid placements and not on highest world changing ideas among the students.
    • Henry Maigurira
    • Executive Secretary, Pachi Development Foundation
    I think the most important development in the area of management in the just-ended first decade of the new century is the Business Process Improvement i.e. the balanced scorecard is a strategic planning and management system that is used extensively in business and industry, government, and nonprofit organizations worldwide to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals. It was originated by Drs. Robert Kaplan (Harvard Business School) and David Norton as a performance measurement framework that added strategic non-financial performance measures to traditional financial metrics to give managers and executives a more 'balanced' view of organizational performance. While the phrase balanced scorecard was coined in the early 1990s, the roots of the this type of approach are deep, and include the pio
    neering work of General Electric on performance measurement reporting in the 1950's and the work of French process engineers (who created the Tableau de Bord - literally, a "dashboard" of performance measures) in the early part of the 20th century.

    The balanced scorecard has evolved from its early use as a simple performance measurement framework to a full strategic planning and management system. The "new" balanced scorecard transforms an organization's strategic plan from an attractive but passive document into the "marching orders" for the organization on a daily basis. It provides a framework that not only provides performance measurements, but helps planners identify what should be done and measured. It enables executives to truly execute their strategies.

    The single most promising area of research or study in the next 10 years i think will be Stem Cell Research.Stem cell therapies are expected to serve the unmet needs that are associated with treatment of certain chronic diseases. In spite of advancements in medical technology, there are very few treatment options available in the market to cure certain cardiovascular disorders, cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, spinal cord injury and others. Also, most of these therapies treat the symptoms without curing the disease. Stem cell therapies have the capacity to fill this gap of unmet need through its novel therapeutic approach that has the ability to cure the most serious infectious biological conditions.Stem cell research is important because stem cells can be used to treat hundreds of diseases like leukemia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease and without research this would not have been possible.
    • earl carnes
    • senior advisor high reliability, federal government
    To make the forced choice of one, I choose the work in Mindfulness and meaning making with examples from Weick, Langer, George and others. One of the banes of all the good ideas is they are viewed as separable insights result in the "fad of the moment". Organizations seeking to improve are buffeted by the new best thing. More relevant to the practitioner would be the question "what are the central themes" in management in order to help managers to develop interpretative frameworks (ie make meaning) for harmonizing the various insights into an organizational mental model that enables long term navigation via leadership, strategy, operational analysis and tactical interventions.

    Thank you for the question.
    • Joseph Podesta
    • Internal Auditor/Risk Manager, catholic Cemeteries Board
    Having read all the comments made by various people I think that none of them really answered the questions correctly. I suppose being an internal auditor has given me the insight which is required to answer the questions.
    I suppose that the one word which incapsulates all the questions which need to be answered is RISK.
    No one as far as I can see has even mentioned the word which I think has been the buzz word in the latter part of the last decade and will be also in the next.
    The GFC has put a lot of stress on Risk Managers and in fact some have even blamed them for not warning of its coming.
    I personally think that its not the Risk Managers that are at fault but the fact that there was and still is a lack of executive commitment and and immaturity when it comes to risk management.
    It would seem to me that very little importance is given to risk management simply because CEO's and Directors don't want to hear bad news, they like to talk up profit margins, marketing etc etc.
    However they are almost afraid to talk to the risk manager in case he mentions something which they don't like to think about.
    I think that the main reason for this lack of reality check is that it runs counter to human nature, most people like to talk about success and profitability, they are not very eager to discuss potential losses to their business.
    This next decade must and will focus on RISK, whilst Innovation, IT, Training etc have a prominent part, the one thing which the top echelons have learned from the last decade is that RISK is something which they have to embrace if they are to succeed in their endeavours.
    Josph Podesta
    Internal Auditor Risk Manager CCB
    • Anonymous
    In the past 10 years, if we are lucky, the era of reductionist "Scientific Management" will have ended.

    Again, if we are lucky, over the next 10 years the era of "Cultural Management" will take root.
    • Saurabh Dwivedy
    Ideologies, Theories, Systems and Processes will can never stop evolving. To me it seems foolhardy and indeed somewhat presumptous to be able to point what has been the greatest management idea over the last decade - given that all we have witnessed is chaos ruling the roost.

    Evolution will keep weeding out and replacing the incumbents - that's the only truth so far as I can see. I don't profess to be oblivious to the "obvious" changes in the world, witnessed over the last decade (read Facebook, ipod and so on) - I still feel all these things are merely transitory in nature - marking the path towards the ultimate situation (provided one exists).

    Somebody mentioned Dharma and Tau. In my opinion, we are seeing the effects of Dharma in the truest sense. As the corruptibility of human minds increases, so does the scale of hardships humans must endure. It's a direct action and reaction principle.

    So while we will witness management ideas evolving from simply hierarchical to complicatedly networked to bizarrely flat worlds... I would consider the biggest challenge to be determining "best practices for survival" in these increasingly trauma-inflicting times. Trauma, coming from all fronts. Seriously.
    • Bob Kelley
    • CEO, ABL Organization
    What development in management in the last 10 years has been most dominant? My vote goes to the increasing acceleration of innovative change in the ways business must be managed to create and sustain shareholder value. This has been the decade of "Effective Innovation Management."

    What should we be researching and studying in the next 10 years? My vote here goes to the development and leadership of emerging new communities of consumers, and other key company stakeholders, through continuous innovation, while maintaining trust and confidence in a commitment to ensure integrity in company systems and increasing value in company offerings. This, and the next decade, will reward those who improve their understanding of "Effective Community Management."

    This topic is only beginning to be recognized as critical. Approaches for dealing with it are currently rudimentary at best. It will require a very multidisciplinary approach, with a multi-polar focus. Think changing spider web charts regarding the priority of the various stakeholders and also the various disciplines. The How to Fix Capitalism article in the current article of HBR by Michael Porter & Mark Kramer addresses some of the kinds of considerations necessary in identifying new stakeholder community management strategies.

    Think of the recent issues Facebook's management, which I believe is a currently very visible, and useful model, has had to deal with relative to privacy and monetization. It's just a much faster paced version of what Toyota has recently been through, in terms of consumer impact on sales, when the US DoT leadership, wittingly or unwittingly, ensured major media and legal community attention on some of its "braking problems," with attendant immediate and deep deterioration of its US Sales. What disciplines, in what depth, might best prepare management to identify these kinds of issues as they emerge, and then to deal with them in a manner that best creates value for all of their relevant stakeholders?
    • Praveen Zala
    • PM, Hewlett Packard
    IMHO, The following 2 areas of management may need focus or would eventually come to light in the coming decade - they are - 'Ethical Leadership' and 'Inclusive Growth'. The world-wide debacle of the recent financial markets' 'down-turn' point to the rise and want of 'Ethical Leadership'. Regarding 'Inclusive Growth' - most/all private firms almost always (tend to) ignore the lowest 'strata' of the society and leave them out from their product/services portfolio. There is a (seemingly) reversal in trend that is being observed now - that of, specifically 'including' the 'strata' at the bottom of the pyramid in all product/services considerations! (Remember 'Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid?') An excellent example would be the mass-market for low-end (read 'no-frills') mobile phones in India/China. Moving on - the 'compact' cars well.

    If it were not 'Ethical Leadership' and 'Inclusive Growth' .. that we need to focus on - I am not sure what else ...

    My 2 cents.
    • Sidharth Khandelwal
    • Middle Management
    I think, the biggest change that has happened in Management world is the introduction of Young leaders. Historically people in leadership roles in an organization have predominantly been those who either have had a tenured industry experience or have been older in age. However over hte last 10 years we have seen the trend change. Organizations are now looking at younger people in these roles. This helps them look at things differently and take more calculated risks which have often lead to great results.
    • Yadeed Lobo
    The one development in management which holds the most promise is the valuation of strategic options.

    The most interesting management subject of the next 10 years will be real options in the field of finance.The value of a company pursuing riskier options will become more transparent/apparent (rather than just accepting a negative NPV).
    • Narendar Singh
    • Prof, Freelancer
    The most significant Ideas for management in future would be values, and social responsibility. The information flow would raise the bar for values and concern for humanity all around would force management to think deep on social responsibility.
    • Anonymous
    I think that next major "big idea" for this century should be how the corporation returns value on investment not to just stockholders but to stakeholders - their customers, their employees, their communities as well as stockholders. This would include a balanced life for employees at a living wage, concern for the environment and the communities an organization interacts with, honesty and giving value to customers for products and services, senior staff held accountable for the organization's goals which if not met have to say why not or get out.
    • Jai Chakrabarti, MD
    • Director, Norwich Cardiac Medicine
    Given the cataclysmic near meltdown of the entire financial system , the question should really be reframed as " What should be the most significant ideas in management in the light of the recent crisis ?".

    If there is one idea in management that should gain the most significance, it is the the conceptual basis of the relationship between leverage and consequent risk at all levels of an enterprise. Has there really be a fundamental reevaluation of corporate risk modeling in the light of the data that has emerged ? Have we gone back to the drawing board to re-evaluate these fundamental principles or do we carry on by attributing the recent financial crisis to a behaviorial problem of the actual risk takers rather than a problem with the risk model itself?
    • Kamal Gupta
    • CEO, Edseva
    The most significant change that I see is the gradual to rapid aging of the developed world's population, countered by the trend in South Asia, Africa, and other less developed countries.

    These young people will have to be skilled to earn their living. An estimate says that in India alone, 150 million people will have to be skilled by year 2020.

    Large corporations cannot absorb so many people and that means that a lot of them will become micro- or small entrepreneurs. The street smartness that they will learn will need to be supplemented by training in micro and small businesses.

    The on-going telecom revolution, which has seen telephone connections in India shoot up from a few million to 600 million and growing makes it easier for people to work independently at competitive costs.

    Eventually, maybe by 2030, we will see mass migration from these countries to empty spaces in countries like Russia and its neighbors, Australia etc; to aging countries like Japan & European countries.

    These factors will have profound impact, including on businesses, organizations, and management.
    • Anonymous
    I believe that capturing and developing data for every phase of the business has been a major development and has had an influence on how business is conducted. In the future the way we handle data and response to real time situation will greatly improve and increase business efficiencys. Business will also become more socially benevolent to society as a whole.
    • Elias Kamau
    • Internal Auditor, USIU
    How is our planet governed? How is our continent How is our country governed?How is my corporation governed?How is the internet governed?How is the family governed?How is everything governed?
    As the world seek answers to the many challenges of today living-gap between millions rich millionare and billions poor global citizens, gap between governments and their citizens, the conflict in our enviroments(climate change and the collective future of our planet, gap between conflict and peace,gap between technology and social connecteness ....the list is question that will warp all this debate is-how do we intend to govern our relationships in all this.We need one governance code for the planet-we need to get the ingredients right. Back to basics-golden rule, honesty,accountability , responsibilty.
    • Anonymous
    What is the one development in management in the last 10 years that you feel overshadows the others?
    The need to institutionalize ethical behavior in business.

    Based on what we know now, what is the one management subject we should be researching and studying that will be of greatest promise in the next 10 years?
    Increasing the diversity of upper management and boards. It is time for a more multi-cultural and gender view to shape leadership in both management and government.
    • Cynthia Lopes
    • prospective student, Leadership in Social Enterprise
    If accepted to the JD/PhD at Harvard my goal would be to create an international umbrella organization to promote democracy and diffuse urban turmoil by using social enterprises to construct eco-cities and transform existing urban areas, locally Boston is one of the top 5 cities working this issue. I think that Harvard should take the leader -ship role in the study of social enterprise.
    • Yedendra G. Chouksey
    • Professor, International School of Business & Media, India
    There are many variables to ponder that make it difficult to choose one idea from the last decade which has imacted the world. In tune with the global knowledge explosion the last decade has been inundated with a number of ideas in all the core disciplines (science, economics, technology and management) and they impinge one another. Social networking is used to topple governments and is used in management to promote bonding. The last decade has also seen the cosolidation of a sizable number of thought leaders and all them don't speak with the same mind. . Before a new idea captures the mind, an oppsite idea comes on the scene, e.g. Is the world really flat? What is more important for achieving organisational goals-employee satisfaction or customer satisfaction?
    Still, if I have to identify one development, it is in the field of leadership theory and practice. The role of authentic leaders, importance of leadership development programmes and role models is universally acknowledged. The richness of research and availability of a wealth of literature in this area points to its relevance and impact.
    As for the field of research in the new decade, it will have a global focus on how to equipoise the business growth, ecological balance and an ethically strong organisational culture with the objective of closing the gap between the least and most developed economies. Truly a multi-disciplinary approach.
    • Ed La Vertu
    • PhD candidate
    With all of this talk about leadership, honesty, integrity and so on, we seem to have forgotten with what objects we are dealing - basically objectivist human beings who probably would not want to be in an office, factory, or anywhere similar and yet draw an income that allows them to be employment-mobile at the flick of a switch or push of a button.
    Soon, for once, the modern person can and will be unique in a group of otherwise similarly classed and open quasi-employees, while seeking a profitable form of self that is used as a whole rather than the one-tenth part in use today.
    The problem is vast using today's technology, and this technology will probably be viewed as barbaric in perhaps as little as 10 years. As future technology means to match a human caused problem with a suitable human solution-provider. The vastness of a database resource will not be an unresolvable situation, as new approaches to machine-human data requirements will be resolved by the information-machine--man tool that will combine the talents of the man or woman that is integrated with the machine to produce a unique problem-considerer--problem-resolver that does not overly rely upon a retinue of classroom experiences, but this combines a human being with the rare 'common sense' as the actors put a best considered and evaluated problem resolution into effect.
    Man and woman would no longer be considered as choice less oxygen users, but would be truly free, to succeed or fail in partnership with an information machine resource.
    • Mary Dillman
    I believe that the "strategy-focused organization" principles introduced by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, and based on their balanced scorecard framework, offer the most straightforward and sensible guidelines for managing businesses through the economic recovery and beyond.

    I couldn't agree more with the comments made by Dominique and Patrick (# 37 and 38) - for all the books, research, and learning programs available to develop better managers and leaders, we see a huge disconnect between theory and practice. I believe the future for leadership development should focus on getting back to the basics - communication, collaboration, accountability, integrity and "walk the talk".
    • Onegi P Jenaro
    • CEO, West Nile Private Sector Development Promotion Centre Ltd
    As a Development worker I opt to think that social enterprise development focusing on alleviation of the thousand active poor especially in the third world countries in Africa, Asia and latin America should be a key focus of management in the next 10 or so years. Well designed and executed social enterprise can make a huge difference in the lives of the poor and the marginalized.
    • Onegi P Jenaro
    • CEO, West Nile Private Sector Development Promotion Centre Ltd
    As a Development worker I opt to think that social enterprise development focusing on alleviation of the thousand active poor especially in the third world countries in Africa, Asia and latin America should be a key focus of management in the next 10 or so years. Well designed and executed social enterprise can make a huge difference in the lives of the poor and the marginalized.
    • Sivaramakrishnan
    • Consultant, IL&FS ETS Ltd
    With the large number of scandals surrounding the corporate world, one can conclude that the current structure of Corporates has failed/ has been found deficient. This is not withstanding the large volume of noise made under the heading "Corporate Governance".

    In my view the universities and academics need to focus on arriving at a new version of corporate structure which meets with the expectation of various stakeholders including the general public.

    In short, rephrasing the challenge: what is the future of the Corporate Structure as it is known to-day??
    • H N Nagaraj
    • Dy General Manager, State Bank of Mysore
    One development in the last ten years is the management behaviour itself. Shifting focus to more decentralized and flat organisation with multi cultural HR, involving more in local issues and socialising and caring for the environment etc., But the future is still not very clear and needs to be designed to sustain the present shift in the management focus and also to ensure the benefits of the development reaches the bottom of the pyramid.
    Just read Ancient Futures by Helena Norberg-Hodge, and it says "The one thing you should learn from Ladakh is the value of the local - the local economy, the local community," Norberg-Hodge says in the film. "Around the world, the trend is in exactly the opposite direction. Everywhere the push is toward larger markets, larger societies. The globalization of the economy is making it impossible for the small shopkeeper or the small farmer to compete."
    Next to read is Three Cups of Tea - by Greg Mortenson - one can realise how to approach a problem, one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.
    I think, the future lies in how we think and not what we think.
    • Avinash Sankhe
    • Group IT Head
    What is the one development in management in the last 10 years that overshadows the others? The dominance of information technology [IT] usage in almost every business as also its serious limitation in providing early warnings/alerts that are necessary to govern businesses in the most ethical manner. IT seem to be taking over most of the operational burden making people behave in complacent & less cautious manner as well as get indifferent to business realities, at times compromising on ACCOUNTABILITY; how else would you explain sub-prime crisis & collapse of few institutions as pack of cards?

    If we were to go by overdependence on IT as one of the major catastrophes of the last decade, what is the one management subject we should be researching and studying that will be of greatest help in the next 10 years is a no-brainer. As world is moving to knowledge based and flat economy, principles of manufacturing and mass production cannot be blindly applied to knowledge processing and the treatment to pieces of knowledge that changes hands and machines and geographies need to be radically different than how an automobile will be rolled out from the shop-floor. IT in future should be complemented with use of much more human intelligence either as part of the flow (serial process) or as a validation mechanism (parallel flow). The clear advantage that human minds adapt to changes much faster than the same human trying to create new IT system as a defence to cope up with changing environment needs to be leveraged giving scandalous minds very little reaction time to beat the
    systems that could be overly dependent on IT.
    • Stephen Basikoti
    The key management development has been the rediscovery of the value of tapping into large pools of knowledge, within entities or globally, to find balanced and well thought out solutions. Internet technologies and social media have contributed to this rediscovery. Of course, mankind has long known that 'no man is an island' and that "in the multitude of counsellors [purposes] are established." (Proverbs 15:22, The Holy Bible] But we gave lip service to these ideas. Now we are beginning to manage entities by them--think of crowd sourcing and collaboration software such as Microsoft Sharepoint.
    Going forward, we will need to think deeply about how to ensure these crowds we are tapping into are given sufficient opportunities to learn and to properly feel engaged. Key questions, therefore, are: (1) How can we use communication technologies to provide to all world-class learning opportunities regardless of where they live or resources they currently have so that no human potential is lost; and (2) how can we ensure that environments, where the individuals making up the crowds we are tapping into live, are sustained and remain vibrant enough to give everyone a sense of "cared for" or belonging that will make them want to contribute to take things to the next level?
    • Rudol O. Rinze
    • Managing Director, Orca Consult
    Recognition as well as research for intuitional elements integrated in deliberate processes of "rational" decision making, inspite having had due attention along 20th. century by means, between others, of works relating with managerial and creativity psychology, seem to have gained momentum in the first decade of 21st. century. However focused now by social psychology and management-human relations academia, I find there is still a long road to go. As of today let's witness the intense approaches in research and practice galore of new interpretations-understanding in social-emotional intelligence, ethics and responsible communications and information, etc.
    • Anonymous
    Although there are large number of innovations in the areas of management, in the past, nothing significant has been evolved for co-creation of value involving all the stake holders in the agri supply chain. My view is that lot more need to be done to align the agricultural production, by the farmer, to meet the changing requirements of the end consumer. Currently the business models in this area have been developed from risk mitigation point of view - be it the governments by building the buffer stocks or offering the subsidies to subside the increased cost of production. The challenge to the management in the current decade / century really is - to evolve the frame work to co-create the value right from the farmer to the end consumer with the use of technology to eliminate the arbitrage opportunities that are currently prevelant in information, quality, attributes etc.
    • Joe Violette
    • Retired Project Manager, Bec
    The biggest accomplishment during the past decade, in my opionion, has been the application of technology and automation to the job of conducting every day business. For the next decade we should concentrate on dealing with the importance of people. I believe we are relying too much on technology. After all, people are the ones that apply the technology, get rid of the "bugs," make it work, improve it, etc. Without people we are lost. We need to concentrate on educating the people so that we have a workforce capable to filling the jobs of the future.
    • Gerard Bremault
    • CEO, The Centre for Child Development of the Lower Mainland
    In my role as a CEO of a charitable healthcare organization in Canada serving children with disabilities, the one LESSON in management that I've learned in the last 10 years that overshadows the others is the concept of "learning organizations" in healthcare courtesy of Professor Amy Edmondson through Harvard's Executive Education programs. While this concept may appear simple on its face, it is a very elegant solution to the challenge of effectively engaging and strengthening the contribution of expert knowledge workers in specialized fields like healthcare. Adapting the balanced scorecard and strength based leadership come a close second and third.

    As to the one management subject we should be researching and studying that will be of greatest promise in the next 10 years; I tend to agreed with HBS professors Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khuranathere in the summary of The Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice that there "is a dearth of rigorous research, journal articles, or doctoral programs focused on leadership as a discipline".

    My observation within our sector is that we have fewer individuals who wish to be leaders; fewer leaders who put "customers" or those served and to be served ahead of themselves; fewer still who are able to effectively lead others and foster genuine engagement; and very few who continue to aspire to organizational excellence rather than self-aggrandizement. This is not to say accomplishing any of the better sides of the above equations is easy. It is not. Hence the need to focus on improving our understanding of how Effective Leadership can be developed, supported and achieved.
    • Jack Rivkin
    • Director, Idealab, World Policy Institute
    Sticking with Management Trends as opposed to Societal Trends, 5 stand out in my view:
    1) Global Businesses, regardless of where they are headquartered, are run by non-Western citizens.
    2) In the early part of the century there will be a significant age shift to a younger senior management structure effectively skipping a generation.
    3) With the accumulation and availability of investment capital outside the Western World, entrepreneurship will truly become global.
    4) A recognition of the growing real financial liability a corporation faces from not incorporating environmental sustainability and other societal issues into its decision-making will lead to widespread adoption of CSR. We already are seeing a valuation differential in the marketplace between CSR adopters and their counterparts.
    5) As the developing world begins creating its own patentable Intellectual Property, the fight over IP will become global and intense and may to some extent offset the expanding universal access to information. The creation of IP may assert itself as a higher objective even though the shortened life of a new idea decreases its present value.
    • Jackie Townsend
    • CEO/Researcher, Global Research and Consulting Enterprises
    What are the Most Significant Ideas in Management? One of the most significant ideas in management is "owning" the financials for an organization. However, being a recent B-school graduate (older student), that has management position in the United States Military and currently my own business, I have found business schools in general a dated and a recant of the Undergraduate program.
    Innovations in educating managers of/for the 21st century are a critical element. As the world continues to become more interconnected, thinking and implementation of nimble management systems in public and private businesses are past due. Managing an organization for globalness is a challenge for academia and in practice.
    According to Drucker leading, and managing non-profits are critical issues for the 21st century. Moreover, information is ubiquitous and delivery of this information is critical for this new century.

    The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in the delivery of education, all private and public business operations and in the home is the next innovation that will transform all sectors of life. Robotics is another key component that will be couple with AI to produce some truly socially and business sound innovations.
    The key to unleashing management will come from learning institutions. This institution will need to become nibble and wise enough to see beyond the current delivery of B-school's curriculum. This will enable such institution to implement 21st century thinking, strategies, systems in management education and implementation to a world this is starving to this kind of leadership from management professionals.
    • Dr.K.Prabhakar
    • Professor, Velammal Engineering College
    While discussing the single most development, I do not want to turn a Nostradamus, but would like to highlight some trends. The single most important development is 'radical sharing' of thoughts and knowledge which never happened in the history of human kind. The century of individualization as against collectivistic ideas of early 19th and 20th century has given place to 'sharing, purpose vis-?-vis profit, and mastery vis-?-vis fragmentation of thoughts. The judeo Christian doctrine which had a temporary triumph after demise of communism is likely to face greater challenges from new age atheism which is likely to turn the world more humanitarian, environmental conscious and tolerant. We may see multiple approaches and probably less emphasis on leadership as the difference between leader and follower is likely to be razor thin or work is going to be between equi-competent people. The single most important promising area of researc
    h will be accepting research from other disciplines such as Neurology and Econo-sociology and its applications to management. The assumptions regarding what happens in a human brain proved to be false as work by Sheena Iyengar has proved and more such research will through light on decision making of humans. The other most important area of research will be outsourcing and its impact on the long term competitiveness of organization. Outsourcing have reduced US will lest number of people employed in manufacturing sector, especially in the area of computers and its long term impact on the US future and its economy with its lack of ecosystem of workers.
    • Ramesh Raghavan
    • National Manager Services Transformation, First CMMi Level 5 Company in the world
    The two questions that were raised in the earlier part of this top was (1) What is the single most important development in the area of management in the just-ended first decade of the new century? and (2) What will be the single most promising area of research or study in the next 10 years?

    My two cents....
    The single-most important development in the area of management in the last decade was in the area of sensitivity to Business Pressures on delivering Margins, Profits and keeping the investors happy. These were unheard of pre Y2K and post the dotcom bust; the Investors were vary. There was a clear shift from just keeping the customers happy to keeping the investors and the employee's happy as-well.

    The single most promising area of research or study in the next 10 years would be in the area of accurate forecasting global economic imbalances on enterprises. This would provide better predictability on management styles, corporate plans H1, H2 and H3 and also some element of certainty.
    • Jay Somasundaram
    • Systems Analyst
    The twentieth century was the century of the physical sciences. The twenty first century must be the century of the social sciences. Psychology, economics, sociology, management ... must start delivering the robustness and reliability of the physcial sciences.

    The most important management idea of the last decade (imho) is that of disruptive innovation. The biggest challenge for management is to understand what institutional frameworks best suit dififerent environments and deliver the best outcomes for society. Free markets are good for delivering disruptive innovation, but free markets, left to themeselves evolve into oligopolies that achieve economies of scale, but stiffle disruptive innovation. What activites are best served through government monopolies, NGOs, gigantic oligopolies or car-boot markets? How do we manage these entitites to ensure that they continuue serve the best interests of society while evloving as environments chance?
    • Suzette van Aswegen
    • Director Strategic Community Planning, Local Government
    Three key management matters for the future stand out:

    1. Authentic and servant leadership or rather the acute lack thereof in the current management environment. Far too many egos still around.

    2. Adaptation to climate change - without a natural environment to sustain your business there can be no business and a 'wheelbarrow full of gold' will thus be worthless. A dedicated and deliberate move away from traditional economics need to occur, as it is an ancient practice that did not keep track with the fact that resources are fewer and demand is higher - not quite what Adam Smith had in mind when he came up with his model long long ago.

    3. Integration, interconnectedness, systems thinking is crucial, including supply chain management to REDUCE WASTE.
    • OweN Might
    • chief servant officer, innovative marketing
    The most important style of management for the future will not be social, economic or even democratic. IDIVIDUAL SELF MANAGEMENT (ISM) is way to go, corperations and Entrepreneurs should begin now to master first themselves and then the DNA of their organizations.
    • David Physick
    • Consultant, Glowinkowski International
    Most significant ideas:
    Michael Porter linking CSR and his value chain. It shows environment and economic are not divergent but must be considered convergently.

    Diversity awareness - define the job then recruit the best person to fill it irrespective of gender, creed, ethnicity, disability. Work hard to retain that talent and develop it.

    Some dawning that organisations are communities of people who have chosen to work together to achieve common goals rather than just a network of systems, processes and technology. Therefore, come back Litwin and Stringer from the 1960s! Organisational climate is more important than culture to performance!

    Looking forward the most important thing to focus on is the prospect of this world hosting 9 billion people by 2050. Comments about leaders encouraging their people to conserve resources and avoid waste are absolutely right in my mind. Also, too, are comments concerning innovation - this is so crucial if there is not to be crisis caused by population growth.

    Education - we need to revive interest in education in the western world. I am not suggesting parents emulate the 'Tiger Mum' approach that has received so much coverage but, fundamentally, education provides opportunity.

    Readers of this column are interested in learning. We must encourage others to acquire our 'virus'!
    • Marie Taillard
    • Associate Professor of Marketing, ESCP Europe Business School
    Among the most significant management developments of recent years is the understanding that customers are inherently linked to the value creation process. The idea was most clearly developed and promoted outside academia by the late C.K. Prahalad and his colleague Venkat Ramaswamy ("The Future of Competition," 2004) who recognized that a massive change was taking place in the way customers and many firms were relating to each other, something they called value co-creation.

    A number of factors have come together to bring about this change - the main one of course being the web and associated mobile technologies, but also consumers' strong desire to regain the upper hand in their relationships with brands and firms in general. It is this control shift which is the most challenging and presents the greatest opportunities for marketers. Those firms willing to play the game and open up access points to customers can reap huge benefits as customers volunteer their passion, their expertise, their time, their ideas, their influence, their treasures, their unwanted items, their reviews, their price comparisons, and make them available to each other. In doing so, customers create value for themselves through rich individual, social and cultural experiences, but also of course they create value for the brands and firms with which they engage. In other words, the value chain needs to be redesigned to recognize customers' contributions every step of t
    he way - this goes way beyond often-discussed open product innovation and word-of-mouth. Social media have greatly enhanced these co-creation processes in more recent years, but the game requires a complete mindset shift on the part of marketers. Half-hearted attempts to engage in staged, carefully crafted or heavily censored dialogue simply won't do. Risk is inherent when you adopt this "outside-in" strategy, credibility can only be earned through transparency and respect. Great examples include Zappos, Lego and also to some extent luxury brands such as Burberry who actively engage with their younger, sometimes rebel customers to help evolve the brand. Others such as eBay and TripAdvisor have turned this into business models. Best practices are still being crafted, errors are made along the way, but this development cannot be ignored and is as irreversible as the factors that have brought it about.
    • Anonymous
    Among other ideas, The Delta Model by Arnoldo Hax is a great contribution to the prior business strategy creation frameworks, that was static after Porter and the resource-based models that are still great references.
    We?ve used it with great results in creating a new strategic perspective.
    • Priya Singh
    • Strategy Consultant, Tatva Leadership
    Increasing influence of social media on determining real outcomes - can be a positive or negative depending on how it is handled. I see a strong need for discipline and control in this field.
    • Anonymous
    (1) What is the single most important development in the area of management in the just-ended first decade of the new century?

    Bar none the answer to your question the single most important development in the area of management in the last decade has been the management of public information.

    Not giving the public and voter the information to make competent decisions in crisis situations and spinning it so that they believe the descision makers always make the best choices for the common good. Example;
    The Gulf War, The true agenda on the War on Terrorism,
    The Bombing of Afganistan at the cost of $35,000,000.00 a day and showing the very same news feed of the bombing from different angle on all channels, The demolition of the World Trade Center in New York and the concealment of the resulting theft hidden from the public, The truth about the Bail Out of the banking industry due to failing mortgages that were sold and never financed by any BANK which is contrary to LAW, the sale of mortgages as securities and the true owners of the notes, the sell of the DOLLAR on the open market and its decline and lack of backing, The suspension of the US Constitution under the War Powers Act and the resulting Supreme Court with the Constitution suspended powerless to rule on constitutional issues EXCEPT the ELECTION OF BUSH!

    (2) What will be the single most promising area of research or study in the next 10 years?

    The next ten years most promising research will be to figure out how to restore food air and water to the planet. Then disolve corporations and restore human rights to free enterprise with humans not corporations posing as humans and getting human benefits that humans do not enjoy such as tax breaks.
    • Hector Ramirez
    • Executive Vice President & COO, NPCS
    I think there are two that have really stood out for me:

    1) The challenge of balancing Profit and Patriotism in a Global Economy. It used to be that American Companies who sold products globally resulted in more jobs for Americans. Now, with global competition at its fiercest, this is no longer the case. American companies are only American by historical origin or current location of headquarters. Patriotism is no longer about country, it's about shareholder and consumers.

    2) The movement toward Social Entrepreneurism. I believe this will be the saving grace of this country. There are many outstanding examples of how young business leaders are making a nice profit while also doing good for our community and environment.
    • Jay O'Conner
    • Chairman & CEO, WCN Transmedia Group
    1. High Speed Broadband, Cloud, Computing, 3G and $G Mobilie Networking, Whitespace and The ANTI-PIRACY DIGITAL MEDIA FORMAT (APDMF) represent the greatest acheivement leading to the explosion of Transmedia Storytelling.

    The greatest achievement in management will be the adoption of Transmedia Brandcasting to change the paradigm of how merchandise is moved across streaming video. As a Master Fan of all things media the ability to monetize streaming video for television allowing viewers to instantly obtain information about products, services, discounts, promotions with the ability to buy anything seen on screen. This innovation has key benefits that are simple to understand first there is the decision to reduce Online Piracy of Content by shifting the business model from 30 second commercials on the Web allowing again anything seen to be purchased instantly. Its like attaching a Shopping Cart and ATM on "Sex in the City" 2. Transmedia Brandcasting provides advertisers an invitation into the relationship between the Artist and Fan as opposed to breaking into the program or making you wait to see it with a pre-roll. With this information the Advertiser gets something that Management
    always wants and needs; Access to more consumers and hopefully their money. 3. Where does the future of Social TV and Cinema meet Pharma and Healthcare, Anti-Piracy, Jobs creation, increased Tax Revenue along with enough money for the entire system to work properly so even prosperity reaches the 95% around the world with a new revenue generator that does not exist today? Want to know more please join me on Linkedin at and join WCN SOCIAL TRANSMEDIA BRANDCASTING ALLIANCE
    • Ajay Kumar Gupta
    • Doctoral Researcher and Faculty, Tata Institute of Social Science, India
    The single most challenging issue in the last decade has been "Subprime crisis". It has been discussed and debated in all possible way so as to stop the repetition of phenomenon. This issue has questioned the management thoughts and business strategies. The issue has also questioned leadership and strategies; and sufferers are no other than people. Along with, failure of Lehman brother has again surprised and shocked the people that what happened to the world class Investment Institution that was run by top talented people of the world. What went wrong and where leadership and management innovation failed.
    In the next decade, the one area that could be area of research is quality of management education. Mushrooming of educational Institutes has created awareness among people that the need is quality of education rather than quantity of management Institutions.
    Questions arise about the relevancy and applicability of teaching pedagogy and teaching material. Case based teaching is emerging highly desirable and relevant at present. Besides top ranked business schools of the world, the others schools have started using case based teaching. The major challenges here is developing cases and finding suitable faculties to develop and teach those cases. We need faculties who can understand the needs of the market and capabilities of the students so that case could be developed based on relevance and comprehending capabilities of the students.
    The other area of research could be entrepreneurship. External forces and events such as lay off, recession, institutional failure and government unrest have created fear among the people. They have become alert and attempt to diversify the support system. The focus has been changed from getting job to creating jobs; and this priority will perhaps change the mindset of the management students to opt for quality, relevant and globally focused education. Case based teaching is possibly the best solution to meet the criteria of quality education. Case base approach will lead to more research and development in the area of management education. This focus will also result into cross cultural and cross nation talent transfer to meet the need. The outcome will be the quality of education, faculties and Management Institutions.
    • Janet Frood
    • President, Horizon Leadership Institute Inc.
    Future success in leadership will be the ability to truly develop team dynamics and relationship systems skills and competencies. The future economy will be driven by creativity and collaboration. Companies are great a building excellence in individual contributors, however these very same high potential performers must then transition into leadership and the requirement to mobilize a team. We need more programs to develop relationship competencies as a core of leadership development.

    The other area that requires ongoing focus is related to communication excellence. So much creativity is stiffled because people are not willing or able to deal with conflict. Avoidance isn the number one coping strategy when things get tough. However, it's a well known fact that without conflict, debate and deep dialogue theer is no hope for innovation.

    The human relations side of leadership is what will distinguish the future of all sectors.
    • Gene A. Wright
    • Director, EMBA Program, UW Milwaukee
    Professor Heskett:

    There are a number of excellent comments posted to your inquiry. One of the most significant ideas in management is the practice of Servant Leadership. So many of our managerial concerns can be addressed by the practice of Servant Leadership because we always seem to "get the best" from people when people are respected and all work toward the common good with character that inspires confidence.
    • Khadija Khan
    • President, Pakistan Evaluation Network
    One most eminent theme of the future will be honesty. The fear of being found out. What we say and do in private should be said and done in public to counter that fear. It is a good incentive to be honest. This will lead to a truly honest society. Over the last decade, we have seen financial crisis, information leaks as well people uprising for their rights, as indicators.
    • Paul Niven
    • GPR Dehler
    A fantastic question which will no doubt create much needed debate. Thanks for the great contributions and the opportunity to contribute.

    The work of Elliott Jaques et al culminating in Requisite Organisation is a stand out for me. The research to understand a robust methodology of aligning people with roles in an organisational structure to deliver the strategic goals has been ground breaking. Practically applying this approach has seen many organisations throughout the world excel and their people flourish.
    • Prof.V.G.Patnaik
    • Dean, MITS
    We have had enough of these management jargons for over a century now. We have kept shifting bases from what nots to why nots etc. etc.
    Technology, innovations, creativity to entrepreneurship have been the major buzz words to drive management in practices and we yet not know what remains to be achieved in the 21st century. It is a wild goose chase all the time !! Having been in the industry for over three decades, I have always believed that key to success is always held in one word, "common sense". Basically most major and commonest management problems emanate out of lack of application of common sense initially and as a result the problems snow-ball into crisis and this leads to requirement of management skills to fight it out. Why at all I wonder- mishandle and then fight the fire ! The punch line, I believe for the 21st century should be to develop management of common sense in the employees. This will be a great step to cure many management ills too in a very simple way.
    • Fergus Barry
    • Managing Partner, FBA
    I believe we have simply toyed academically with the concepts of Human Capital Management and Engagement but that this will prompt us to explore how advances in performance psychology, social psychology and networked technology can help us understand and grow talent that will grow companies.
    I believe that there are many lessons from Sports Psychology and Science that can be used to improve business performance.
    • A. Gallina
    • Professor of Management Control, Univ. of Genova - Italy
    It would be easier to pick important developments among negative ones rather than positive ones, being the formers much more numerous than the latters. In the real world of managerial practice, the damages of wild delocalization of manufacturing activities in low cost countries, driven by an unappropriate interpretation of the globalization which has been supported and proposed by the goverments of advanced economies, can be seen by all those libing and working in the EU. Fine social systems and fair employment regulations are being dismantled on the (false) basis that they are no longer sustainable due to the "global competition" which cuts jobs and incomes. Positive developments in the practice of management can be traced wherever responsible and environmentally conscious energy savings are being implemented and fostered by goverments.
    Little I can say about the academic world of managerial disciplines, wherein I can scarcely find developments that are worthy to be mentioned.
    I can't say what is going to be the most promising area of research in the next decade, but given that without sufficient energy our economies are technically dead, I can say that the most important, though not necessarily the most promising, area of research will be that of the developments of new and cleaner energy sources.