"After years of debating the limitations of hierarchically run organizations and the merits of democratization, the end of command-and-control management may finally be here.
Blame the people 25 and younger in our midst....
Why do I call these young computer enthusiasts and organizational activists "digital natives"? Think about the extraordinary cumulative digital experiences of each of these future leaders: an average of close to 10,000 hours playing video games; more than 200,000 e-mails and instant messages sent and received; nearly 10,000 hours of talking, playing games, and using data on cell phones; more than 20,000 hours spent watching television; almost 500,000 commercials seen--all before they finished college. At most, they’ve logged only 5,000 hours of book reading.
This generation is better than any before at absorbing information and making decisions quickly, as well as at multitasking and parallel processing. In contrast, people age 30 or older are "digital immigrants" because they can never be as fluent in technology as a native who was born into it. You can see it in the digital immigrants’ "accent"--whether it is printing out e-mails or typing with fingers rather than thumbs. Have you ever noticed that digital natives, unlike digital immigrants, don't talk about "information overload"? Rather, they crave more information.
The youngest workers don't need to adapt to fit into the agile, flat, team-based organizations older executives are striving to design. They just do it: They communicate, share, buy, sell, exchange, create, meet, collect, coordinate, play games, learn, evolve, search, analyze, report, program, socialize, explore, and even transgress using new digital methods and a new vocabulary most older managers don't even understand....
This is not to suggest that a premium shouldn't be placed on the knowledge of organizations and the management experience of top executives. Nor is it to say that digital natives--business neophytes, almost by definition--would be better at running a company than seasoned leaders. It's simply to argue that technology is altering the face of organizations in more ways than just by improving productivity, and smart managers would do well to pay attention to what this technologically savvy generation has to offer.
By overlooking or underestimating digital natives, older executives are sending a message to some of the most talented people in the work force that they are not appreciated or supported." [CNET News.com]