Prepare For Profound Organizational Evolution!
This Forbes Insight research is right on the spot supporting the idea behind a very controversial discussion post of mine in LinkedIn titled “Digital Won’t Conquer The World Until 50+ Executives Retire!” where I argue that some 50+ executives reluctant-to-change slowing down the growth pace of digital revolution.
Some LinkedIn Groups with heated discussions on the topic: (membership may be needed)
- Advertising Professional
- Communication Arts
- INTERACTIVE & DIGITAL MEDIA GROUP
- New Generation Agency Network
- WACCM TOO
I was amazed how timely I was about picking such a delicate topic after seeing the response to my postings in several LinkedIn groups. Especially after seeing Forbes’ research and its findings I decided to rest my case and let these findings and the numbers speak for themselves.
The research concludes with this last sentence:
“In short, prepare for profound organizational evolution as Generation Wang (50+ executives) begins to retire, Generation PC (40+ executives) takes control, and Generation Netscape (30+ executives) starts to move in.”
The Rise of the Digital C-Suite: How Executives Locate and Filter Business Information
The rise of the digital C-suite
In developing a sociology of the digital age, much has been made of the emergence of the “digital native” generation—those born duringthe era of PCs, the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and other digital tools—and how it interacts with information differently than earlier generations.
A similar approach can be taken when looking at the impact of the digital lifestyle within corporate walls. The introduction of the IBM PC in 1981 and the subsequent ubiquity of the personal computer on office desktops presaged the development of the digital C-suite, as executives who launched their careers during this time understood the value of digital communications.
Forbes Insights, in association with Google, surveyed 354 top executives at large U.S. companies (those with annual sales of greater than $1 billion) to examine how they locate business-related information. A clear generational split became apparent from the results. For the purposes of this report, we have defined each of these three generations on a technological baseline.
Throughout this report, we have sought to examine the different information-gathering habits of these three generations, and how they are changing perceptions of the C-suite.
There are vast differences in the approaches and attitudes of senior executives in relation to the value of technology in strategic research. But at the same time, there are also a number of significant similarities.
Senior executives of all ages have vast needs for information — of that there is no doubt. Senior executives of all ages also find the Internet at large to be a profoundly useful tool.
The differences, however, arise in terms of the degree to which executives immerse themselves in digital mindsets. Generation Wang is content to use the Internet as a means of augmenting traditional approaches to information gathering and networking. Generation PC, made up of digital settlers, goes a few steps further. But it is Generation Netscape that has the potential to bring a new persona to the C-suite, one in which transparency and openness are core personal and professional attributes. These executives are likely to take collaboration and networking in research to unprecedented levels.
In short, prepare for profound organizational evolution as Generation Wang begins to retire, Generation PC takes control, and Generation Netscape starts to move in.
This group is made of executives who entered the job market
prior to 1980. These over-50s advanced in their careers
with a terminal on their desks, but may still be equally or
more comfortable with non-digital forms of communication.
Not having been raised in the PC age, they are digital
immigrants, conversant in computing while thinking in
their native analog tongue.
Those whose career starts coincided with the rise of the PC
in the early/mid-1980s, Generation PC members are the
digital settlers of the corporate world. Generation PC came
of business age with word processors, spreadsheets, and
desktop presentation software, and it was the first group to
send email, build Web pages, employ search engines, and
see business move to the Internet. Now that its members are
40-50 years old, they are an increasingly dominant force in
The generation whose careers began with the growth of
the Internet in the 1990s, Generation Netscape is the most
Internet-savvy group. The under 40s don’t know an office
without email or home pages, and they are the most willing
to leverage the newest wave of Web-centric tools and
experiment with emerging technologies. Members of this
group are entering upper executive ranks and will be a
growing influence on the C-suite.
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- 26 Mar 2010 / 2:22 pm
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