Alvin Toffler, Future Shock
American expert on the future of organizations and people (pictured right).
This is the first part of Toffler's trilogy...
It was followed by:
1. The Third Wave (1980)
2. Powershift (1991)
Alvin Toffler in the Management
What is future shock?
Too much change in too short a time
- problems for relationships (at home and work and in society).
To cope with future shock, people need stability zones i.e. stable relationships in life
Why is future
shock becoming more common?
- people’s experiences are so new they can’t learn from them.
Factors affecting the future
(with the pace of life speeding up).
2. Innovation and technology (including biotechnology).
The adverse social effects of technology (like unemployment) must be dealt with (taming
3. New information and knowledge
(helped by computers, education, continual re-learning).
- be relevant to people’s lives.
- teach how to learn and relate to others.
Decisions are made more difficult and stressful by
4. Customer satisfaction
As people become richer, they want
- a better product experience from psychological benefits like brand image.
So organizations must become experience makers.
5. Individualism and diversity of values and
(with a surfeit of subcults).
(in which things are used and quickly discarded)
Toffler was the first person to use this now widely used phrase.
These lead to:
- the Modular Man (or disposable person)
- broken homes (the fractured family).
8. The “ad- hocracy” organization
This is an organization structure that is:
- non-hierarchical (with project based teams).
9. The service economy
(in which people in service industries outnumber those in manufacturing).
Key quotes on change
Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.
Today change is so swift... that yesterday’s truths suddenly become today’s fictions.
The death of permanence (describing the future).
The rate of change has implications quite apart from, and sometimes more important than, the directions of
Key quote on organization
The introduction of Ad-hocracy increases the adaptability of organizations; but it strains the adaptability of
Key quotes on education and
By instructing students how to learn, unlearn and relearn, a powerful new dimension can be added to
Tomorrow’s illiterate will be the man who has not learned how to learn.