Civilizations have clashed in an unexpected way this year, as ordinary people using Facebook and Twitter knocked down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya—and are threatening absolute rule in Syria. A so-called Arab spring brought waves of liberation to a long-oppressed region. Something similar is happening in more democratic countries.
This social might is now moving toward your company. We have entered the age of empowered individuals, who use potent new technologies and harness social media to organize themselves.
The institutions of modern developed societies, whether governments or companies, are not prepared for this new social power. People are changing faster than companies. “I don’t think it’s crazy to ask if your CEO is the next Mubarak,” says Gary Hamel, one of business’ most eminent theoreticians of management. “The elites—or managers in companies—no longer control the conversation. This is how insurrections start.” Says Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com: “This isn’t just about Arab spring. This is about corporate spring.”