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If there's a core to extract from social media, it's the potential for a 180 flip in polarity in the hierarchical model to bottom-up. This would be, in the short term, 'not a good thing'. What people want is often not what they need. But while 'want' can be simply measured, 'need' is harder to qualify. Beyond the short term, I guess want and need will tend to converge because the bottom-up flow also brings in more information.

And, while we're into decision and action dynamics, I would add in to this disruptive mix the slow but inevitable erosion of the middleman/rentier. Capitalism is about middlemen. Capitalism is about logistics.

I'd put the life of modern management theory as 1950 - 2010. It's dead, deceased.  What follows no-one knows.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 12:57:12 PM EST
Social Media enables an interrupted flow of information (knowledge?) from the consumer all the way to the President of the Board of Directors.  Whether it will be used that way, under the present business forms of organization, remains to be seen.  My bet is on this change:

The one thing we do know about large corporations is they can't get out of their own way.  Big Business succeeds in a market niche and grows to be able to survive only in that niche doing the things causing them to succeed.  IOW, it's like Henry Ford's customer service, "They can have any color of car they want.  As long as it is black."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 02:18:04 PM EST
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That kind of thing hardly ever happens in practice.

Big corps get bigger, then they start buying themselves bits of government. They don't die unless they're dismembered by governments or overtaken by competitors with a fresher business model.

And sometimes not even then.

How many corporations have been killed or significantly (i.e. not trivially) damaged by consumer action?

I'm all for killing corporations, but hopeful rhetoric isn't going to do it - not when they're multinational organisations with a direct influence on government policy.

The occasional token consumer campaign isn't going to do it either.

I have no idea what will. But there is zero evidence that Google, Amazon, etc are under any kind of threat from the Internet in the short to medium term.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 03:46:23 PM EST
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Things change.  Witness the Dutch East India Company and East India Company.  Both of which were nasty little buggers "in their day."

I agree consumers, as such, are not the driving force.  Change will happen when the "Creative Class" (however one cares to define it) begins to grab a significant share of a country's GDP and the large corporations have to adjust or die.  

Granted, at the moment it's all in its infancy.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 08:40:19 PM EST
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The East India Company was nationalised and turned into the Indian division of the Empire. Basically an informal arrangement between the aristos + 'investors' and the UK government was made official policy.

The Dutch East India Company was a direct predecessor of Shell and the other petro giants.

So neither of those are good examples.

Even if individual corporations die, their political influence lives on in the culture.

Corporate 'philosophy' and values are the single biggest influence on Western culture today. There's a bit of art and science going around the edges, but everyone else is busy buying and selling themselves and each other, competing, maximising their own value, and using 'It's just business' as an excuse for exploitation and thievery.

I suspect a moral attack would be more successful than a political one. It's not just that buying and selling are fundamentally dull and stupid, it's that the 'values' not only destroy the environment and blight individual billions of individual lives - and worse, they also destroy the collective intelligence humans need to think like an intelligent species with long-term goals.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 06:38:31 AM EST
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