Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Ending is Beginning

 For Prof. Pia Manalastas

Manila Standard Today

Published December 27, 2010  As 2010 comes to an end, 2011 ushers in a new beginning.  This ending-beginning calendar cycle also occurs in human activities; when a single action ends, a succeeding bigger activity begins to accomplish a given goal. In corporate setting, an input becomes an output in a series of means-end operations that ultimately achieve an overall purpose or mission. These outputs are measured daily, monthly, quarterly, and annually and at year-end, corporations become aware of their new cycle, new beginning

The end of 2010 in the Gregorian calendar brings us closer to 2012. The Mayan calendar marks December 21, 2012 as the end of a 5,125-year cycle; the end time of a cycle and a beginning of a new one. Over a long, long time, our consciousness has growing to help us understand our ‘old’ ways and discover new beginnings.  If the light of our consciousness through these years is passed through a prism of our humanity, then a rainbow of perspectives would make us see things in more ways than one

Scientific Way
As early as 600 BC, the Greek philosophers saw the light and showed mankind the path to civil life; soon after, the Romans built on the Greek civilization and by 400 AD a theocratic view on life slowly emerged under the Catholic church. By the 17th century, the Enlightenment thinkers gave rise to ‘discoveryism’ in physical science. Thus, Rene Descartes’ ‘Je pense donc je suis’ became a popular postulate. According to M. Budd he “brought to medicine a mechanistic way of thinking about worldly things and events, including the function of the human body [and] proposed that qualities like emotion, values, goodness, courage, evil were functions of the mind, governed by separate principles from those of the machinelike body.  Three hundred years later, his truths were still carried by our culture.”

But some thinkers challenge Descarte’s paradigm.  In 1987, Maturana and Varela showed that the ‘Cogito ergo sum’ is flawed by indicating that human life might have arisen from biologic processes alone.  In 2003, J. Chanciosi asked about feelings, emotions, desires and aspirations that are all transient; and where do they come from, how they arise, and where do they go? In 2005, A. Damasio in Descartes Error concluded that “the comprehensive understanding of the human mind requires an organismic perspective; that not only must the mind move from a non-physical cogitum to the realm of biological tissue, but it must also be related to a whole organism possessed of integrated body proper and brain and fully interactive with the physical and social environment.” In the same year, Clawson & Newburg in The Future of Human Resource Management observed that “Most managers and leaders assume that professionals will do what they have to do and not let their feelings get in the way…Feelings affect our performance…Descartes’ error was not recognizing that fundamental fact when he established scientific method and rational thinking”. These are some of the new writings on the impregnable scientific wall that signal an end to an ‘old’ accepted scientific idea.

But to replace ‘Cogito ergo sum’ with ‘I feel; therefore I am’ may also prove erroneous.  A ‘thinking-feeling’ view may serve as an expansive paradigm for ‘being’ alive. For example, Taylorism and Theory X inspired by the Industrial Revolution is challenged today by C.S. Jacobs’ Management Rewired and D. H. Pink’s Drive on new corporate motivation and productivity. They propose a subordinate-centered corporate life and advocate that managers become people champions and work facilitators in a thinking-feeling organization.

Quantum Age
In 1970, T.S. Khun talked about paradigm shift, a preview of the end of traditional science and the coming of a new science. Almost forty years later, F.Karakas gives us a glimpse of a paradigm shift in organization and management development.

He says that 1. The new knowledge economy requires adaptive skills and agility through networks and interdependence. Thus, organizations have to find new ways to balance work and family through  flexible-time and telecommuting [the cellphone will eventually become a virtual office and home]. 2. The new era of technology has ushered the Quantum Age; the unpredictable and random behavior of quarks violates Newton’s physical laws. 3. Researchers conclude that human beings are, indeed, quantum beings; a quantum approach to management calls for corporations to engage whole person [body, mind and spirit that bridge analytical and artistic talents] for innovation and creativity.

In 2006, M. Wheatley considered physical science which influenced organizations and management based on Newtonian laws an ‘old’ paradigm when compared with a new science based on quantum physics.  She challenges management gurus to rethink and reinvent management theories based on the implication of the new science.  For example, J. Meister and  K. Willerd  in The 2020 Workplace predict that future CEOs will blog to be in touch with the customers, market and employees; social media network will flourish within corporate settings; and corporate social responsibility will be a key indicator for a company of choice.

Modern management had its beginnings in Cartesian scientific thought. The Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution propelled humanity to the Age of Science which initiated a revolutionary approach to management which led to the use rational syllogisms, paradigms and systems.

With the emergence of New Science, managers may ask: What does Quantum Age mean to me? The answer begs for seeking new ways of managing; and ultimately it means discarding the old ways of doing things.  In so doing, a paradigm shift is in the making — Ending is Beginning.  After all, the last frontier, according to the New Science, is not outer space but our inner mind.

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