Management Hall of Fame
Most Respected Management Gurus
Futurologist (1928 - Present)
"The advanced economy could not run for thirty seconds without
computers." (Alvin Toffler)
- Alvin Toffler is an American writer and futurist, known for his
works discussing the digital revolution. A former associate editor
of Fortune magazine. He is one of the world's leading authorities on
socio-techno-economic change. Alvin Toffler's special ability is an
understanding of the complex effects of change and the prediction
the future. He anticipated the effects of information technology and
biotechnology developments on the society and the economy. This
ability comes from knowledge of sociology, science and technology. His
early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects
like information overload). He also worked on analyzing the
increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and
technology proliferation, and capitalism.
- Became a consultant for AT&T.
- Published "Future Shock" describing the disorientation in of
decision-making that impact individuals, groups, and societies when they
are overwhelmed by quantity and speed of changing events.
- Published "The Third Wave" - The information-led human development
as a sequence to agricultural and industrial waves.
- Published "Power shift" - Discusses the three basic sources of
power: violence, wealth, and knowledge. Toffler talks about the future
struggle, as individuals, businesses, and national economies move away
from their traditional sources of power towards a new dependence on
knowledge. A power shift does not merely transfer power, but also
- Published "War and Anti-War". - It talks about warfare and how it
is changing in parallel to business changes, mainly driven by advances
in information technology. He also talks about the inadequacy of
traditional military force in preventing terrorist action.
In his book The Third Wave Toffler describes three types of
societies, based on the concept of 'waves' - each wave pushes the older
societies and cultures aside.
- First Wave is the society after agrarian revolution and replaced
the first hunter-gatherer cultures.
- Second Wave is the society during the Industrial Revolution (ca.
late 1600s through the mid-1900s). The main components of the Second
Wave society are nuclear family, factory-type education system and
the corporation. Toffler writes: "The Second Wave Society is
industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass
consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass
entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. You combine those
things with standardization, centralization, concentration, and
synchronization, and you wind up with a style of organization we
- Third Wave is the post-industrial society. Toffler would also
add that since late 1950s most countries are moving away from a
Second Wave Society into what he would call a Third Wave Society. He
coined lots of words to describe it and mentions names invented by
him (super-industrial society) and other people (like the
Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village,
technetronic age, scientific-technological revolution), which to
various degrees predicted demassification, diversity,
knowledge-based production, and the acceleration of change (one of
Toffler’s key maxims is "change is non-linear and can go backwards,
forwards and sideways").
Books & References:
Future Shock . Alvin Toffler, New York: Random
The Third Wave, New York: Bantam, 1980.
Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at
the Edge of the 21st Century . Alvin Toffler, New York: Bantam Books,
Alvin Toffler,, and Heidi Toffler. War and Anti-War: Making Sense of
Today's Global Chaos. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 1993.
- The Eco-Spasm Report(1975), Alvin Toffler, Bantam Books
- PREVIEWS AND PREMISES , Alvin Toffler, (1983)
- Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change
our lives , Alvin Toffler, (2006) Knopf
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