The Future of Work and Corporate Organization, Roger Martin -- Rotman School -- Lifelong Learning, June 7, 2002, 8:25 a.m.

Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management, U. of Toronto

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Financial Times: trajectory


Dominating media coverage

Innovating the Integrative Thinking agenda

Ways to get involved:

Today's session: An popular issue of "Rotman Management"


The Future of Work and Corporate Organization

Do you recognize this chair?

Who designed this chair?

Who designed the pellicle fabric?

Structured plastics?

Thus, have a company that stands for something important, but doesn't do it itself.

Look at the transformation of the determinants of competitive advantage over the past 100 years.

The role of physical assets

Five types of assets:

From the raw numbers, would argue that physical assets mean a lot less than they use to.

With those different types of assets, have a strain on the traditional way we conceptualize organizations.

Does this make sense as a conception of an organization?

Limitations of the traditional view:

Thus, a no-win situation

Can act like a choiceless doer, when you're not.

Increasingly hate getting treated as a class, rather than as an individual.

This has led to disaffection in the modern workforce.

From Fast Company:

A chart from the "War for Talent" talk by McKinsey: The Desire for Individualization

Human assets are become rare (in War the Talent)

Had talked about disaffection, now what makes people happy?

The meaning for corporate organization?

Need to focus on choice, and community

Need a different conception of the corporation:

Having choices together creates a community.

Creating a productive community has the key features

The optimal organization of the 21st century is a nexus of communities

The firm of the 21st century will be like this.

Stump & Chadwick are making money off the Aeron chair, but Herman Miller is making a lot more.

Managing the subjective well-being will be how people maximize knowledge assets.


William Dale, class of 2000: What are the prospects for the traditional firm to transition to this new structure? Some firms think that you need to dissolve and recreate, which hurts. What can some firms do? How does empowerment fit in?

Class of 2001: Work for a legacy company. What makes our unit productive is that the senior people know and signal that one person can't be as smart as 60 people. Everyone is an expert in his or her field. Decisions are made at the lower level. Leaders channel, shield, promote. Work for Bell Mobility, part of Bell Canada.

Shelly Ernworth, class of (1971): On the war for talent, should we think globally, e.g. India. On the basis of birthrate, in Canada, we'll have 11 million people in Canada by 2050. Focus on public sector. The desire of individualization. IBM went outside the company, and the industry to get a different perspective. In public sector, hire people for policy potential. What needs to happen to leadership?

Gloria Russell, class of 1987: People being brought into organization based on leadership and expertise. What about working today, as opposed to working for a competitor tomorrow? What about people who are solid workers, who don't need these leadership skills.


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