Capitalism 2.0 - New Horizons for Managers

We live in a turbulent world, marked by unprecedented economic and social challenges. Change is taking place at hyper-speed. Meanwhile, the global financial crisis has sparked intense discussions about the shortcomings of a shareholder-maximization approach to management, as well as the lack of human grounding in much of the world’s economic activity.

However, it is not yet clear what the “next capitalism” will look like. The Global Peter Drucker Forum 2012 will be a platform to discuss this from the vantage of those who actually lead the organizations and institutions that make up the
fabric of society: managers. Indeed, they have a key role to play–arguably, the key role to play–in the transformation toward a new environment in which market-driven efficiency and the concern for a functioning society are better aligned. It is undeniable that the political and regulatory environment that creates incentives and disincentives has significant weight in steering this transformation. However, at the height of the crisis it was obvious that not a blind and abstract system was considered responsible but those who acted in the system and who contributed to move it in a perilous direction.

While publicly traded corporations attract most of the interest from the media, business researchers and the wider public, there is a broad array of well-managed enterprises that get little or no attention. Ownership structure, funding sources, governance, culture and management practices set these organizations apart.

Among them: public-private partnerships, nonprofits, family-owned businesses, SMEs, employee-owned firms, cooperatives and low-profit limited liability companies (L3C’s).

Just like large multinational corporations, these organizations are active mostly in competitive national and international markets. In a period where the attention is shifting from maximizing profit to the creation of both economic and social value, social entrepreneurship and social business are increasingly attracting interest.

While the importance of these “uncorporations” seems to be growing, the workforce itself is also undergoing a major transformation—as described by Peter Drucker—from one composed mainly of direct employees toward a more
entrepreneurial structure with an increasing share of independent workers, freelancers and consultants.

With the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) upon us, 2012 provides a unique opportunity to broaden our view to alternative institutional forms. It is the perfect moment to understand their potential to better address the needs of our society, be it in developed or in emerging markets.

Key questions to be addressed

  • What alternative institutional forms–different from the traditional corporate model–are taking root or gaining momentum, and what does this mean for management?

  • What are the salient differences in governance, culture and management practices between these different enterprise ?models—that is, between the corporation and these “un-corporations”?

  • What impact will the changing structure of the workforce have on these institutions? And how, in turn, will the  changing nature of these institutions affect employees?

  • Given that the practice of management is itself in deep need of innovation, what can be gleaned from a better ?and deeper understanding of these alternative models?

  • Which institutional models are most effective in combining the creation of social and economic value?

  • How can we apply relevant learnings across the various models and thus achieve systemic improvement?

  • Which models have been most impervious to financial crisis? Can this be substantiated from the 2008 (global) ?and 2011 (European) meltdowns?