Rise of the Individual
- Free-Agent Learning - The strategic challenge facing HR managers and chief learning officers is attracting, developing and motivating free-agent learners. They're the employees we want at Anycompany.com -- our bottom line depends increasingly upon them. Innovative and energetic, they are our keys to the emerging knowledge economy. As Jeffrey Pfeffer of the Stanford Graduate School of Business has put it, "In an economic environment in which capital and the latest technology are widely available, the only hope for building sustained competitive advantage resides in companies' management of their people."
- Market Individualism - Employees in the new era must think of their relationship to their jobs as if they were independent craft workers. They must value their autonomy and be willing to hedge their labor market risk by acquiring and maintaining up-to-date skills. They must realize that they are responsible for their own job security as well as most other aspects of their lives, regardless of how the economy might change.
- Why Do Contractors Contract? The Theory and Reality of High End Contingent Labor - This paper seeks to extend our understanding of the rise of contingent work by exploring the experiences and perspectives of highly skilled technical contractors whose growing presence, while widely acknowledged, has yet to be systematically examined and incorporated into theory. The paper first critically reviews and contrasts the prevalent theoretical perspectives on contingent work. Next, using interviews with 52 contractors, the paper analyzes the contractors' accounts for why they entered the contingent labor force and how their subsequent experiences altered their point of view. The paper concludes by exploring the implications of the findings for modifying existing theories of the social organization of contingent work.
- The Search for Meaning -- Charles Handy - It seems to me rather obvious that the current system of capitalism is not going to be sustained, and let me explain why. The assumption, in the Anglo-American context -- and it's different in continental Europe, different in Japan, in China -- is that the company is a piece of property, owned by the people who buy shares of it. They therefore have the right to sell that property. But what is this property? It increasingly is a collection of people. The tangible, fixed assets of these corporations are worth considerably less than their market value. If you take the pure knowledge organizations -- advertising agencies, banks, software companies -- the market value may be 20, 30, 40 times the fixed assets. I think the rhetoric of the stock market is concealing from us the fact that what we're actually talking about is owning other people.
Now when we think about it, this is both strange and in the end unworkable, because organizations, as we know, are whittling down to the core. Outsourcing everything they can. They are going to employ a relatively small proportion of all the people they need. Those core people, therefore, are going to be rather competent. And they are going to resent being owned by other people. They're going to say, "No, you can't just sell us over our heads or dictate our strategy. Furthermore, if you don't like it, we will leave." So what is the point of saying that you own something when actually that something can walk out the door?
The stock market is just a casino. When you buy shares in Microsoft, for instance, you are taking a gamble. It's not just a gamble on the profitability of Microsoft; it's more than that. You are gambling that Bill Gates can continue to motivate young people to work like fiends for the company. Therefore, I argue, stockholders will revert to their true role as investors and not owners. They will not have the right to combine and sell the company over the heads of its people.
- Northwest Corporate Accountability Project - What is a Shareholder Resolution? - Using the internet for shareowner proxy voting will not just save money. It will awaken the sleeping giant of corporate governance -- individual investors. It will give shareowners unprecedented influence over the policies of large corporations, by making "corporate monitoring" possible. Rational voter apathy will be counteracted by the internetıs ability to make information exchange cheap and easy. Likely benefits include higher profits, support for social goals, and more realistic levels of CEO pay. Compared to other countries, America has more stock held by individuals who use the internet, so America will lead this trend.
- Rise of the Individual
- Individualism, Intellectual Property, and the Future of Capitalism - Will our society, in the new millennium, recognize even greater individual autonomy, thus further shielding intellectual property from the short-term utilitarian machinations of a politicized state? It should, but wishes are poor predictions. Still, if the hard-edged men of Renaissance Florence could figure out the advantage of patents in the first place, perhaps we can discern the potential value of conceiving of intellectual property as individual property before the law. In the real world, full of Filippo Brunschellis and Bill Gateses, the power of these individuals' imaginations may illuminate a social self-interest expanding our current definitions of collective utility. The future of individualism, intellectual property, and capitalism should not be bound by today's crude efforts to measure and analyze them.
- The Modern Debate between Individualism and Communitarianism - According to the traditional way of thinking, the individual is supposed to establish his own law: that is what it means to be autonomous. If you think of other contexts in which you have heard this word used, you may recall that a country or state is said to be autonomous because it governs itself according to its own laws. Indeed, Gilligan and like-minded feminists claim that the traditional (male) idea of the individual or self makes people seem too much like separate states which may negotiate with each other, makes treaties, etc., but which always remain separate and apart. Gilligan, in fact, thinks that treaty making between countries is a useful model to use to represent the idea of morality connected with traditional individualism and the idea of the autonomous, atomic self. This concept of morality is based on an idea of justice that focuses on rights and reciprocity. Even if the principle at the heart of one's idea of moral reciprocity is one as seemingly fair and generous as the "golden rule," Gilligan still maintains that the frame of reference employed is too limitedly derived from and focused on the individual self: ...The ability to put oneself in another's position, when construed in these terms, implies not only a capacity for abstraction and generalization but also a conception of moral knowledge that in the end always refers back to the self. Despite the transit to the place of the other, the self oddly seems to stay constant. Notice how, in this kind of thinking, one is always using one's own standards of what is important as one's frame of reference. In this way of thinking, one may scrupulously accord the other person the same rights and courtesy one claims for oneself, but, when one thinks this way, Gilligan says, it is hard to deal with a person who is dramatically different from oneself. Further, the kind of moral thinking that focuses on reciprocal rights assumes that the individual self and the individual's conscience are permanent, unchanging things. The individual seems to stay the same, and he seems to stay detached. According to Gilligan and many other feminists, this is not how most women think about moral matters or about themselves. Instead, such writers say, women are more likely to see themselves as living in a web of relationships with others, a web which they help to form and which partially forms them.
- The Millenial Mind-Set - In the 21st century, individualism will have its biggest impact on the world of work. If you work in a factory today, you will be much more likely to work in an office job tomorrow. And you will be far more likely to work as a free agent, rather than as a salaried employee. Often, that will mean working from home, without perquisites like health and life insurance or printer paper from the company supply cabinet. Brock Hinzmann, a technology navigator with SRI Consulting, believes it's not unlikely that we'll see a work future that mimics Hollywood: independent contractors coming together in teams to work on a specific project. "It's amazing sometimes to see all those names at the end of a movie and realize that all those disparate people worked as a one-time team to create a production," Hinzmann says. "It wouldn't be surprising to see the same thing happen in business." As employment becomes more individualistic, what you once called your office is likely to become far more portable, and ineluctably linked to your private life. Like the tortoise who carries his house on his back, workers in the new millennium will carry parts of their digital homes and offices wherever they go. "If you're taking a vacation in Montana, you'll probably be taking your children and your laptop, as well," says Wacker.
- People-Centred Design
- World Politics for Individuals - The origin of STRING is the conviction that the world-community of man needs a new polity, which cannot directly be derived from the structures and traditions of existing societies (also not from the one we know as parliamentary-democratic states)! In order to achieve this aim, STRING proposes the political connection between the single individual and the whole world-society by a political innovation, a global world-event, which is focussing mankind as a whole and which has priority over all other collective entities. This world-event is drafted as a new form of institution, whose decisive qualities are the limitedness of time and the renunciation of bureaucracy. This institution of mankind wants to enforce its revolution against the powerfull traditional collectives of today's world by establishing a status of political independence for the individual, a status which every single person could claim. Only by this new status of individual independence the world-event gets an indirect, non-organized continuance. The institutional "double-hit", world-event and individual status replaces all initiatives for a future world-order, which still is basing on the power of existing collectives (i.e. power by military, economic, legal or spiritual dominance).
- The Net in the hands of citizens - This dissertation is a collection of articles focusing on the Internet as a means of citizen empowerment and the networks as the new environment of civil society. The basic interest of the study is the potential of the Internet to enhance citizen resources and capabilities.