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The Future of Work

06/05/2004 11:00 AM Wong
Thomas Malone, Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, MIT Sloan

Description: In Thomas Malone's optimistic view of the future, the human values of creativity and freedom ultimately triumph, and business leads the way. This explosion of possibilities in work, and everyday life, will flow from the increasing ease and decreasing expense of communicating. Malone sees parallels between the emergence of democracies in political and business worlds, and technological advances in communications. He notes that in the age of the Internet, businesses are growing decentralized, markedly departing from "command and control" organizational models to newer environments where "workers seek advice instead of approval." Empowered by new technologies, workers will exercise ever greater strength in important decisions -- even while corporations expand and sprawl across borders. Just as the printing press enabled large numbers of people to participate in the politics of their times, so will the Internet and evolving communications technologies enable workers to perform their jobs as more active decision-makers, across greater distances. For evidence of this massive shift, Malone explores the "e-lance" economy, as well as the success of eBay, a company with 130,000-plus off site "sellers" making up a global network of "small store owners."

About the Speaker(s): Thomas W. Malone was one of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century". His research focuses on how new organizations can be designed to take advantage of the possibilities provided by information technology. The past two decades of Malone's research are summarized in his book, The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). Malone is the co-editor of three other books, as well. Malone has been a co-founder of three software companies and has consulted and served as a board member for a number of other organizations. Before joining the MIT faculty in 1983, Malone was a research scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where his research involved designing educational software and office information systems. He earned a Ph.D. and two master's degrees from Stanford University, a B.A. from Rice University, and degrees in applied mathematics, engineering-economic systems, and psychology.

Host(s): Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

Tape #: T18786, 18787, 18788

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MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

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