Home Organizational Psychology Leadership Leading into the Future I: An Introduction

Leading into the Future I: An Introduction

21 min read

What is the nature of this postmodern condition and how does it relate to the other two societal forms that are still alive and well in our world (the premodern and the modern)? In this set of essays, I provide a systematic analysis of all three societies, while also paying attention to the unique challenges posed by the postmodern condition. I wish to set the stage for my analyses and postmodern portraits, by offering a few preliminary reflections in this essay on the nature of postmodernism as it operates in social systems.

The Postmodern Condition

Prophet, poets and social critics have declared that the modern world is dying or already dead. A new one is emerging in the new millennium to take its place. This new future is nothing like the past. We appear to be living and working on the edge of a new, postmodern era. We define everything by what it used to be (post-industrial, post-capitalist, post-Fordism, post-Marxist, post-cold war), but do not yet know what it will become.

This is the postmodern world and the organizations that reside in this world are postmodern organizations. These essays are devoted, in part, to an examination of contemporary organizations as they hover on the edge of a postmodern era. In particular, these essays are devoted to challenges facing the men and women who have chosen to lead these organizations. I will examine the parameters and characteristics of postmodern organizational forms and dynamics–comparing them to organizations that were functioning in the premodern and modern world (and that continue to function in the hybrid reality of our postmodern world). I will also suggest why the future we now face “ain’t what it used to be” and propose ways in which leaders can best confront the unique characteristics of this new future and the new postmodern organization.

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