Many things can happen in 20 years. In 2006, Gary Hamel and Tom Stewart asked for opinions on the future of business, and I posted about it. This past October, Hamel summarized many of the responses (and solicited more) with What Does the Future of Management Look Like to You?:
Looking twenty years out into the future, what one characteristic—principle, practice, or structural feature—of the “modern” industrial organization will appear to be the most antiquated or anachronistic?
[via David Gurteen]
Hamel lists about a dozen ideas from a first pass and 68 people have posted additional comments on their thoughts of what management will look like in the future. The majority of comments seem to revolve around the elimination of hierarchy in relationships and in organizational structure.
The reason David Gurteen mentioned the post is that a few commenters suggested the explosion of "easy" IT capabilities would severely limit the need for IT within organizations, other than baseline support levels. The bigger one was that one comment was directed right at knowledge management:
Restricted, controlled flow of information shall be the most antiquated feature.
Nice sentiment. This idea has been percolating for a while. KM advocates have been asking for open flow of information for a long time. Tapscott and Ticoll argued this way in The Naked Corporation (my review). Open source advocates want everything to be open. The Cluetrain Manifesto was essentially about the change of power structure from the corporations to the people. Freakonomics told a number of stories of how information availability changes the power structure in (business) transactions.