To see the future of management and where the current trends are leading, look first to the past. Look at the foundations upon which management theory was built. Fayol, Taylor, Weber and MacGregor (Warner, 2003) each contributed to the field at critical times in recent history. The introduction and in some cases, subsequent discard of their individual and collective theories points to the idea that the future in this subject is wide open and extremely fast moving with new theories bumping off their predecessors rapidly. Exploring the future of the four functions of management will give us a view to the future of management theory as a whole.
In trying to visualize planning as a management function, many will picture a group of managers sitting around a table with yellow legal pads, tossing out their ideas of the future. Today's reality however is just as likely to be a senior executive alone in his office with his hands poised over his keyboard, experiencing globalization firsthand as he watches the markets close in Japan, Germany and China.
Use of forecast models and information in an instant off the Internet makes planning less the job of a seer and more the job of a technologist. The planners of the future, with the information of the ages and access to previously obscure or unmeasured trend data at their fingertips will seem prescient. In fact their jobs get easier when they have machines crunching the data and pointing out the obvious as well as the obscure.
If the future seems bright for planning, then organizing will be the shining star. The virtual organizations that we are just beginning to explore will come to fruition as more and more organizations embrace the flexibility that virtual campuses and worksites engender. Companies with...