Business and Society
How Technology disrupts Human Behaviour
Each new technology has changed human behavior incrementally, as happened with the boom in mobile phones. The internet, apps and social media have however, taken disruption to a new level altogether. While earlier, we were asked to ignore strangers, now we travel with them on Ola or Uber, share space using Airbnb and even allow them home due to OLX or Quikr. Even at moments of experience breathtaking beauty or heritage milestone, we are less keen on enjoying the moment, as we are busy shaving the memories using social media apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. The world might seem a connected place, but in fact we are getting lonelier, having fewer real conversations with one another. There has been a reduction in outdoor play among children as well. In the real world, we may take time to buy products, but in the online one, through a click of the button we make major purchases. Thus online shopping sites such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are leveraging digital marketing techniques to the hilt. Even the news we now consume has to be compressed due to shortening attention spans. Public libraries and book stores have been replaced by smart phones, tablets and Kindle devices.
The “Business in Society” Imperative for CEOs
Due to several external, macroeconomic issues, CEOs now need to be able to manage both commercial as well as business-in-society issues for the organization. Commercial duties involve products, markets and competitors while the latter includes issues such as legislation, investigation, litigation, regulation and enforcement. The macroeconomic space has been disrupted due to anti-business, anti-immigration and protectionist measures being touted in North America as well as in Europe. The UK’s exit from the EU may present newer opportunities but also curtails the global movement of free capital or labour. This has spooked levels of consumers, investors, workers and communities at large. Meanwhile Russia is no re-asserting its lost glory in Eastern Europe, Chinese power has become unquestioned in Southeast Asia and tribal warfare has engulfed the Middle East. CEOs thus need to wade past these kinds of troubles by building better trust towards businesses eroded by years of cronyism. An active Risk and Public Responsibility Committee needs to be set up as part of the corporate strategy so that businesses can be viewed as ethical elements within society. Scandals that have rocked the likes of Enron, Siemens, VW, BP and Well Fargo need to be put aside so that a fresh start can be made on the business to society collaboration.
Our biggest issues have a hidden Cause
The world has several big issues such as poverty, climate change and terrorism which need to be solved. Yet the biggest obstacle to solving such problems is the complete lack of engagement people have towards work. Such major issues cannot be resolved when only a third of US working population is engaged at work. This mirrors the trend in school where three-fourths of kids are actively engaged in studies till the age of ten but by the time they are to leave school, the number drops down to a dismal 34 percent. Something goes wrong during these few years which later reflects at work as well. If this segment can be solved, people can develop business innovations to solve all the other problems discussed. Such innovations were in the past never developed by do-gooders but by a competitive engaged workforce leveraging the best of capitalism. There is nothing wrong with this system as long as best use can be made of the workforce.
The 10 People who Globalized the World
Ten people have been identified who have actually led to globalization of the world. No discussion on globalization can begun without eulogizing on the efforts of Genghis Khan who ruled over much of Eurasia but also created great infrastructure including roads, governance systems and communication channels. The Silk Road was opened up and made safe from bandits. The next person on the list chronologically is Mayer Amschel Rothschild who was a great banker during the age of global finance. He built a great network of banking with the help of his five sons who each settled in London, Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt and Naples respectively. The next three names in it are Andy Grove, Elon Musk and Margaret Thatcher. In many ways Thatcher transformed the world around her but a lot of her disruptions proved to be negative. Elong Musk’s business innovations could power the world of tomorrow. Two individuals whose contributions ought to be acknowledged are Cyrus Field and John Monnet. The former laid the first transatlantic telegraph and the latter brought Europe together after World War Two. Deng Xiaopeng’s great contribution was in opening up China and thus initiating the process of bring the east and west closer once again.