Title

The Thinking Business

Date of Completion

8-31-1990

Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray

Abstract

Technological advances, integration of world economics, and shifts in America's economic base from a goods-producing to a service-based economy are among the factors which will contribute to dramatic alterations in business practices in the coming decade. While the success of private enterprise will no doubt continue to be measured by profit margin, the means to insure this success is changing. No longer is it sufficient to believe that the integration of technological innovations in the workplace or adjustments in business strategies to improve competiveness will insure success in the market place. A critical step in promoting competitiveness must be taken in the area where products are manufactured, services rendered, and strategic decisions made - the workplace. It will be here, on the shop floor, at the repair bench, in the board room where America's competitive edge must be the sharpest. American industry will need to increase its sensitivity to international marketplace needs by adopting a global perspective in the conceptualization, production, and marketing of products and services. Business must adapt quickly to changes in consumer needs, seizing opportunities to develop and market new products and services. The ability to take on these challenges does not rest solely in the organization of a business or in the potential of a new technology, but also on the abilities of workers to bring forth these changes. It will be a business which empowers workers to become thoughtful, reflective contributors to the workplace which will survive and flourish. Employee training programs can no longer focus on discrete, immediately applicable, and often non-transferable skills which foster a reliance on a cycle of worker training and retraining. Instead, a new approach to training must emerge, one which acknowledge the human component as a critical element in devising successful responses to changing economic and technological demands. Since the creation of a single strategy for training is inappropriate, the author presents four recommendations to serve as a framework from which to approach the design of workplace training programs for the development of a thinking business.

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