Friday, January 13, 2006

Discovering the 21st Century Leadership

by Michael Lorz
A contribution to the Summit for the Future

Leadership has been a buzz word since the dawn of management research. Times are changing quickly and therefore the perspectives on leadership should change accordingly. This article explores 21st Century Leadership in a future business environment. By reading this article the person will grasp an understanding of leadership; see leadership as a process described in 6 concise steps; develop a new perspective on leadership and will gain a quick overview of a selection of the most pressuring trends impacting
on businesses in the near future.


While the 1980’s were characterized by a rather static environment this has changed during the last 25 years to a very dynamic environment impacting on the way business is conducted. The technological advancement of telecommunication and the advent of internet have accelerated the rate of globalisation, deregulation and have brought a network- and knowledge based society that
is interconnected through online appliances. The consequence of changing business environments on leadership is that there is a need of defining the new requirements for future 21st century leaders.

Three major categories of influence on leadership have been identified during the research. These are global trends, organizational trends and follower trends. [...]


Global trends for the purpose of this research are business developments on the most abstract level. They constitute all trends that emerge external to the organization but still have the claim to have an impact on organizational developments as well as followers and leaders likewise. The implications of global trends are an ever increasing dynamism
that is applicable to virtually all business processes. Technological advancements facilitate furthermore the connectivity between stakeholders on a global perspective. 24/7 accessible knowledge and an ever increasing level of knowledge intensifies the competition for innovative and cost efficient processes while products and services are easily comparable on a global scale. Emerging cost efficient Asian
compete with European companies on a global scale and increase price pressure on them. As a consequence the level of automation is increasing in companies located in European regions and thus the amount of required employees is decreasing while the knowledge share per employee is increasing.


Organizational trends are developments that impact on the design of organizations and the way organizations are reacting to their environment. Leaders will not only be measured on material success in terms of business profits but as well on the interactions with all stakeholders internally and externally of the organization. Organizations need to be made “fit” for the dynamic environment; the uppermost aim is therefore flexibility in order to react quickly to changing global trends. The response is
flattening hierarchies and network structures with units that may be deployed for flexible work assignments. Cost pressures force companies into specialization;
hence companies – or in future network units – engage in the work they perform best with the lowest cost structure and the highest possible quality.

While this specialization is taking place these units become more open to public scrutiny. The need to consider all stakeholders will become more central when making important decisions. Decisions will relate to a basic principle of “giving and taking” benefiting local communities and engaging in ecologically sound business.


The followers of the leader change as the situation surrounding them is changing. Followers become increasingly diverse; this diversity is not only culturally founded but as well related to gender and age. Observing the global trends and organizational trends followers become
more knowledgeable and key information holder due to complex knowledge and company specific knowledge. While followers become more valuable to the company they are increasingly mobile and the idea of long life employment is not prevalent anymore. New talent/potential
management tools in order to bind this knowledge to the company and new approaches for knowledge management are challenges that a leader faces. [...]

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Asian Leadership in Trade and Associated Risks

by Evalueserve - a Knowledge Partner of the Summit for the Future

World Trade: Emergence of Asia

Asia's journey from the 1997-98 financial crisis to being one of the world's most dynamic regions in terms of trade, development and investment activity, can best be termed as a 'Renaissance'. The world's centre of economic gravity is shifting towards Asia, as it currently accounts for 27 percent of international trade. This growth is mainly driven by the exemplary performance of the emerging Asian countries, including China, India, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The share of these emerging Asian countries in world trade increased from 13 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2004.

The Asian region is gaining significance in merchandise as well as commercial services trade. Asia's share in world merchandise exports and imports stands at 26.8 percent and 24 percent, respectively. The value of Asia's merchandise exports and imports shot up by 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively, in 2004. The growth in exports from the region can be attributed to strong demand from the US, and intra-Asian trade, stoked by a recovery in electronics trade.

Exports of commercial services increased at a fast rate of 27 percent in 2004, while imports were up 25 percent during the same period. Asian countries, such as India, China and the Philippines, are the most preferred destination today for outsourcing of business services, such as transaction processing, customer care centers, medical transcription, IT services and application development, high-end analytical services, R&D services, etc. Other commercial services, such as transportation services were strong in 2004, while travel receipts recovered by 31 percent during the year from exceptionally low levels in 2003 (due to the spread of SARS).

Intra-regional trade as a share of total trade went up sharply to 41 percent in 2004, primarily due to intra-industry trade as a result of greater vertical specialisation and relocation of production processes. This is evident in the electronics sector, where capital intensive processes (like production of microchips) are carried out in high-income economies like Singapore and Korea, and labour intensive processes (like assembly of personal computers) are located in low income countries, such as China. Asia has integrated into a global production chain with some cities like Hong Kong and Singapore becoming the hub of manufacturing and trade.

The dynamics of growth and development in Asia is a perfect illustration of how countries have used trade as a means of achieving greater degree of integration with the international economy. Region-specific factors have provided the stimulus for this growth.

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