3-Ackoff - Our changing concept of the world

3-Ackoff - Our changing concept of the world - 1 Russel...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 Russel Ackoff - 1981 (From Creating the Corporate Future (Wiley, 1981). ) OUR CHANGING CONCEPT OF THE WORLD There is a certain relief in change, even though it is from bad to worse; as I have found in travelling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place. Washington Irving Change itself is constantly changing. This is reflected in the widespread recognition of its accelerating rate. For example, the speed with which we can travel has increased more in our lifetimes than it has over all the time before our births. The same is true for the speed with which we can calculate, communicate, produce, and consume. Change has always been accelerating. This is nothing new, and we cannot claim uniqueness because of it. There are, however, some aspects of the changes we are experiencing that are unique. These are responsible for much of our preoccupation with change. First, although technological and social change have been accelerating almost continuously, until recently this has been slow enough to enable people to adapt, either by making small occasional adjustments or by accumulating the need to do so and passing it on to the next generation. The young have always found it easier than the old to make the necessary adjustments. Newcomers to power have usually been willing to make changes that their predecessors were unwilling to make. In the past, because change did not press people greatly, it did not receive much of their attention. Today it presses hard and therefore is attended to. Its current rate is so great that delays in responding to it can be very costly, even disastrous. Companies and governments are going out of business every day because they have failed to adapt to it or they have adapted too slowly. Adaptation to current rapid changes requires frequent and large adjustments of what we do and how we do it. As the eminent student of management Peter Drucker put it, managers must now manage discontinuities. The changes in management required to handle change have become a major concern to all those associated with it. Human beings seek stability and are members of stability-seeking groups, organizations, institutions, and societies. Their objective may be said to be "hornostasis," but the world in which this objective is pursued is increasingly dynamic and unstable. Because of the increasing interconnectedness and interdependence of individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, and societies brought about by changes in communication and transportation, our environments have become larger, more complex, and less predictable-in short, more turbulent. The only kind of equilibrium that can be obtained by a light object in a turbulent environment is dynamic-like that obtained by an airplane flying in a storm, not like that of the Rock of Gibraltar. We can drive a car down a deserted turnpike in good weather with few changes of direction and acceleration; hence we
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 05/23/2010 for the course IE 398 taught by Professor T during the Spring '10 term at Middle East Technical University.

Page1 / 17

3-Ackoff - Our changing concept of the world - 1 Russel...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online