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Minggu, 27 April 2008

Managing in the Next Society 7

Part IV The Next Society
Chapter 15 The Next Society
- The Next Society
- The New Demographics
- The New Workforce
- ...

The new economy may or may not materialize. The new society, however, will shortly and it is more important. The rise of the new society already shows its signs in developed and emerging countries. One is the shrinkage of younger population and growing number of older population. Consequently, pension fund systems in many countries will be insufficient to support such aging societies. This requires older people continue to work after 55, as temporaries, individual consultants, part-timers, outsourcing contractors, etc. Managing this kind of labor market must change significantly compared to the last century's traditional practice. Economically, the aging societies also create a very different market.

The market will not be dominated by younger people anymore but by older or middle-age people. Companies successful because of the growth of young people, like Coca Cola and Unilever, will face a difficult challenge, requiring them to change course. Another hot issue will be immigration policy that in developed countries has inevitably been changing in order to maintain younger workforce availability. Politically, in America, ones run for president or legislators must choose appropriate campaign themes whether to attract immigrants' votes or white population's votes. On the one hand, some white workforce oppose the policy of welcoming immigrants, since it makes their welfare could be jeopardized. On the other hand, the aging population needs fresh young people for support.

The next society will be a knowledge society (the prevailing buzzwords are knowledge-based organization and knowledge-based economy, yet here Drucker introduces knowledge-based society that he claims more important - Y Pan). The characteristics of knowledge society are (1) borderlessness, (2) upward mobility, and (3) the potential of failure as well as success. Knowledge society needs both formal and advanced schooling, because knowledge workers never stop learning even after graduating from formal educations. Therefore, education in the next society will probably be the most lucrative business. Nonetheless, the format of the next society's educations, especially advanced schooling, will be different from traditional current education programs. Online seminars and weekend courses will be available for satisfying the knowledge workers' inherent need. Formal educations for younger people will still be good service businesses since formal educations are the only gate for workers to enter the competitive knowledge society.

Specifically, Drucker claims that the participation of women in the knowledge society will be the leading sign of dramatic changes. Unlike manual workers, knowledge workers could be indifferently male or female, because of the nature of knowledge works. Women leaving their jobs to take care of their children can resume their job after about fifteen years. This is possible also because of their increasing longevity. Similarly, retiring workers are able to have their second career, since the nature of knowledge works does not require teen-physical strength. According to Drucker, the most dominant knowledge workers will be what he calls knowledge technologists, such as computer technicians, software developers, nurses, office technologists, etc.

Interestingly, Drucker claims that among demography, knowledge society, and information revolution, demography is the most important and least predictable. He concludes it based on historical data when times of increasing and decreasing number of birth rate changed unexpectedly. This is because immigrants, especially in America, tend to maintain the custom of having many children. Spanish immigrants generally have four children, and it is the norm. While integration of immigrants and welcoming population could be a hard issue in many countries, Drucker says that America has the advantage of long successful integration experience. Together with a high birth rate of immigrants, America is the least aging population among developed countries.

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