Important Reflections

Important Reflections

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5390-8.ch007
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


In previous chapters, the authors have provided readers of this book with the fundamentals to successfully introduce and apply the Fourth Industrial Revolution in their organization. In Chapter 7, the authors reiterate their previous warnings and remind readers that the planning activities of the stakeholders will result in plan implementation under conditions of dynamic complexity, where almost certainly, unforeseen events will derail the stake-holders' plans. In this regard, the authors describe three events that readers should study and evaluate as examples of such potentially “unforeseen” events.
Chapter Preview


In Chapter 7, the Authors delve into more speculative aspects of The Fourth Industrial Revolution. These are issues that stake-holders must start considering before implementation plans are finalized, and implementation commenced. For example, issues highlighted include:

  • “How will members of an organization react to having robot(s) as co-workers, or even as the organization’s leader(s)?” and “How will Machine Learning complicate resolution of such dilemmas?”

  • How will the organization react if its Fourth Industrial Revolution plans cause “armed” international Disputes?

  • Does the organization have contingency plans if a CME causes disruption of essentially all global electronic connections?


Robotic Co-Workers

The first step for readers of this book, in preparation for examining the introduction of robots into the reader’s organization and prior to addressing the other issues raised in this Chapter, is to explore how leadership is currently defined in their organization. It was taken for granted in business organizations for many years, that leaders were born rather than developed – this was known as the “Great Man” theory, and it will likely prove catastrophic if followed in the era of The Furth Industrial Revolution; for example if “Watson” was introduced into an organization as that organization’s leader. Transformational Leadership is currently the most popular leadership approach across all business sectors. One of the best definitions of Transformational Leadership was given by Anderson (1998) who asserted that: Transformational Leadership is about creative thinking, transforming the business, and changing the organization’s culture. In sharp contrast, Transactional Leadership (another popular leadership style) adopts a directive leadership style, and is typically concerned with processes and day-to-day operations-management. Transformational Leadership is the most popular style among the typical leadership-style variants listed by Spicker (2012); and Transactional Leadership is represented further down in the order of organizational preference. Smith and Cockburn (2013) have documented an extensive review of Leadership styles and history.

The reason for assessing your organization’s current leadership style is to facilitate understanding of how smoothly The Fourth Industrial Revolution and its associated robots and AI technology could be integrated into your organization’s current HR, leadership and management structures.

Webster (2017) provides further information concerning the qualities displayed by Transformational Leaders, who are interested both in the individual and the team. Their intention is to empower people so they may reach their full potential, to improve their skills and abilities, and gain confidence in their unique talents and values, and as a consequence, the leader’s influence is strengthened by their interest in the people they serve. It is the Transformational Leader who makes great efforts to understand a person’s abilities, skills, and needs, and then offers coaching and mentoring to help them to succeed in their particular situation. Transformational Leadership is style of a leader who connects with people to inspire positive change, such as The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

So what’s the problem with robot introduction?

Robots attain their overall objectives by applying machine learning to achieve objectives set for them by digital-technology experts. If, as is most likely, these technology experts are not familiar with Transformational Leadership, or believe in some other leadership style such as: “Leadership as a system of authority,” the robots the organization acquires will not “fit-in” smoothly, and Unforeseen Results will eventuate!

Dreyfus and Dreyfus (2000), in their book Mind Over Machine, assert that “Robots will never be able to understand the world, as it is organized by embodied beings like us.” Goldeberg (2002) claims that “whereas humans have the ability to criticize themselves, computers do not.” Goldeberg believes that creative thinking is an essential part of leadership, and this is lacking in robots today.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: