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Changing Phase Of Business Management

The primary goal of every business is to find a customer. But the game of attracting and retaining customers must be played keeping in mind the basic rules of the game – business ethics is not a choice but a part of business strategy.

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Since ages, human beings have attempted to trade - be it ideas, places or products, making business ubiquitous and omnipresent in society. Starting from the earliest civilizations, business in the form of trade has been a part and parcel of societal life. Though change has been the only constant in the world of business, a rapidity of this change in the last quarter century has unsettled the behemoths of business. Scholars and thinkers would like to ascribe these changes to the phenomenon of the emergence of the VUCA world - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The VUCA world has not kept any business transactional or simple anymore.

The complexity is both a reason and a result of the need of business to get involved with the larger set of stakeholders, thereby taking the relationship much beyond profit-making or trading. No doubt, business forays into aspects like consumer relationship and engagement, consumer behaviour and satisfaction, societal and environmental impact of consumption, the nitty-gritty of corporate activism leading to brand building, etc. are so very commonplace.  While consumers have started looking at corporate entities more like humans, the responsibilities on the part of the latter have enhanced multi-fold. After all, consumption has become such a vital part of our daily lives that society cannot look at corporate in isolation. 

Business cycles also have never been so erratic and unpredictable. The social, environmental and economic factors have been major drivers of these changes, making any prediction of business cycles almost an impossible task. While disruptive technologies and the resultant products have in many cases helped humankind in terms of offering great products/services at an unimaginable cost, they have also hindered the spirit of entrepreneurship, since the risks involved are just too big for the most daunting businessman to take the plunge. The unidirectional business forecasts are giving way to multifactor analysis and scenario planning. Even an appreciation of liberal arts is gaining ground as a means to see the future in a more holistic and humane way. The diversity of the market propels diversification in businesses. Corporate giants like the house of Tatas or Birlas have profited from the appreciation of diverse markets with diverse needs. This has also helped them manage risks to a large extent. 

Understanding the changing business landscape, managing the risks involved, and thereby growing in scale and scope remain the primary focus of all businesses. As Peter Drucker had declared long back, the primary goal of every business is to find a customer. But the game of attracting and retaining customers must be played keeping in mind the basic rules of the game – business ethics is not a choice but a part of business strategy. Today, we find turnovers of many companies comparable to the GDPs of nations. While it speaks volumes about the popularity and the basic goodness of the products and services of the companies, it is sometimes scary to imagine the consequences of any unethical behaviour on the part of such Goliaths of companies. The scale and scope enjoyed by these companies can bring havoc to humankind like never before. 

Perhaps, in Industry 4.0, when merging of boundaries between biology, technology, genomics, and computer science will spawn new businesses at an unprecedented pace, managing ambiguity in an ethical manner will be the topmost challenge of any business. Engaging the customers for an equitable consumption, both environment friendly and socially sustainable will be the maxim of successful business management. Managers of tomorrow, therefore have to be a polymath with the heart in the right place. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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