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The Future of Work

International Journal of Applied Management of Change (ISSN: 1744-8190) Volume 1 Issue 1

Aparna Sharma

Background

Mark Twain once famously said, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”

The study of the future is bedeviled by the fact that there are no iron laws that govern human history or its cultural development. Studying our possible future can not only enhance our ability to understand and relate to the events that are happening in a wider historical context but also imbue our consequent acts with a greater awareness and a feeling of increased participation. Therefore, future change, or so it would appear, is what a great many human beings continue to live for.

Work serves an important purpose of organizing and giving a meaning to our lives. Both historians and futurists have, over the last few years, attempted to envision the future of work. From Alvin Toffler and Charles Handy to Thomas Malone and Jeremy Rifkin, the predications have been few and far between. One thing is for sure, they and many among the futurists have set up thinking about our individual professional and personal futures as well as how they fit in the foreseeable changes in the world of work.

This paper is the first of a two-part series of articles that attempts to present an overview of the future of work, i.e. underline certain trends in the world of work, which have been identified lately by leading thinkers and practitioners across the world. The paper serves as the first part of the series and will present an overview of the major changes being witnessed in the macro environment that are driving the changes in the world of work. The second part of this series will present the changes taking place in the world of work through certain trends. It will focus more on the aspects of work that are changing over time and those that are likely to continue changing.

In course of highlighting the trends, this paper will answer two key questions:

  1. What are the various changes taking place in the macro-environment?
  2. How are those changes bringing about changes in the world of work?

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