Managing the Postmodern Generation: New Perspectives by Exploring the Parallelism between Postmodern Management and Music

By Ishana Gopaul and Karl Moore.

Published by The Organization Collection

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In this paper, we connect the worlds of management and music. We contend that management is becoming postmodern. At the heart of our argument is the idea that the postmodern worldview is the one taught at most universities worldwide, hence younger people, those under 35, who have attended university, are strongly influenced by this new mindset that sets them apart from previous generations (the Boomers). Though Boomers have evolved in their thinking and have taken on elements of postmodern thought; the under 35s represent a group that is only postmodern and simply knows nothing else. Within this optic, the central question is, “What are the practical managerial implications for the managers of postmoderns?” Thus, we seek to connect the ideas and flows inherent in the way postmodern music has evolved and draw some tentative and early parallels that will lead us to better understand the new and unfolding world of management. From a broader perspective, the diversity of cultural and musical appreciation prevalent in the postmodern musical landscape closely resonates with the interconnectedness of divergent attitudes, values and aspirations that are embraced by this generation. Other key elements surrounding this connection and the adoption of a changing worldview are explored through themes such as nature of truth, changing sense of hierarchy, multiculturalism, role of passion, authenticity and emotional engagement, where does knowledge reside and who has it, and importance of stories/narratives. Ultimately, through the valuable characteristics and workings of the postmodern musical process, this paper turns our attention to how we can most effectively manage today’s young people, what we have called the Postmodern Generation, as they increasingly carve our current and future organizational learning, culture and success.

Keywords: Postmodern Management, Postmodern Music, Parallelism, Knowledge, Culture, Creativity, Multiculturalism, Diversity, Authenticity, Emotional Engagement, Passion

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp.83-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 651.378KB).

Ishana Gopaul

MBA Candidate, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Ishana M. Gopaul received the BCom degree in Finance and Mathematics from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where she is currently working towards the MBA degree with a concentration in Global Strategy and Leadership at the Desautels Faculty of Management under the supervision of Prof. Karl Moore. Her research interests include postmodern management and leadership. Ms. Gopaul is the recipient of the prestigious 2010 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and was named to the 2009 Dean’s Honor List.

Prof. Karl Moore

Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management, and Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Karl Moore is an Associate Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management and the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. He has also taught extensively in executive education and MBA programs at Oxford, LBS, Cambridge, Darden, INSEAD, Duke, the Drucker School, the Rotterdam School of Management, IIM Bangalore, and Queen’s. His publications include 22 refereed journal articles in leading journals, 10 books or edited volumes, 12 chapters in books, 29 executive articles and dozens of conferences papers. His current research is on postmodern leadership and globalization. The winter 2006 issue of Business Strategy Review, published by the London Business School, identified Dr. Moore among a group of world’s greatest business thinkers. Others on the list of about 20 include: Charles Handy, Phillip Kotler, Gary Hamel, Warren Bennis and Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

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