The Changing Nature Of Work

I came across this quote from Arnold Kling about the changing nature of work in America while reading “The New New New Economy” in The Atlantic:

The paradox is this.  A job seeker is looking for something for a well-defined job.  But the trend seems to be that if a job can be defined, it can be automated and outsourced.  The marginal product of people who need well-defined jobs is declining.  The marginal product of people who can thrive in less structured environments is increasing…

Reading this quote at first, it does not seem as if this could possibly be relevant for someone like me, pursuing an MBA degree.  Despite the fact that it may be possible to define what exactly a manager or executive does, the truth is that their major requirements (managing people and developing business strategy) is very difficult to define, automate, and/or outsource.

But after reading through it again, I started thinking about ways in which the article could be related to an MBA student like me.  In essence the article is focusing on how the American economy is changing, and how the change is affecting our jobs and the work we do.  And rapid change is going to be a constant element of our daily lives from now on.  Financial markets can be disrupted instantly by bad news from anywhere in the world, Facebook is constantly revamping its home page, consumers preferences can shift due to a single tweet, and a new iphone is released each year.  Rapid change will continue to be a part of our daily lives, and future business leaders need to be prepared to handle that change.

I believe there are several ways MBA programs can adjust their curriculum to ensure their students are prepared to handle life in the rapidly changing business world they will graduate into.  I have discussed some elements of my CSUF courses in a previous post, but next week I will mention some ways MBA programs can ensure their students will be even better prepared for life in this new business environment.

Here are a few articles I read this week that you might find interesting:

This book review in the New Yorker explores the philosophical, academic, and economic views of procrastination.  I know I struggle with the issue constantly – do you manage to get tasks done when they need to be done, or are you like me and put them off until the last minute?

Businesses tend to want their employees to succeed more often than they want them to fail.  But this article discusses how failure can lead to greater success and how business have tried to encourage their employees to extract success from failure.  Have you ever failed at something, but later achieved success after learning from that failure?


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