Tamara J. Erickson
Successful companies in any era have organised in ways that optimised their ability to meet their greatest challenge
Our research aims to shed light on the future of work.
Technology revolutions need complementary social innovations to drive economic progress. Often, there is a significant lag between the two.
The revolution in processing power, connectivity and mobility continues to drive dramatic, global change in how business is done. Yet we mostly continue to work in roles and organisations rooted in industrial-era principles.
We explore the lag and assess social innovations that are underway, as well as identifying those that are needed. We study individuals, organisations and institutions that are pushing boundaries. We aim to identify ways of working and institutional models that will realise the full potential of the technology revolution. We also examine the ‘dark side’ of innovation in work – are there going to be enough jobs to go round? Are workplaces losing their human vitality?
We group social innovations into three levels of analysis:
How do people spend their time on day-to-day work? What jobs, trades and professions do people have as a result of the technology revolution? The changes underway will affect us individually as well as impacting cities, national institutions and businesses who seek to attract and retain the best people.
What are the pros and cons of the increase in virtual organisations and in freelance working? As the structures of large organisations shift, replacing industrial-era bureaucratic forms, will meritocracy and adhocracy grow and so alter the nature of management and leadership?
Possibly the least understood but most important of the three, what institutional innovations do or should we see? Will new legal governance forms, such as intellectual property legislation around collective commons projects (such as Wikipedia and Linux), drive progress in the way that the Limited Liability Corporation and patent law enabled the rise of large organisations?