We into a deep recession and we had

We live in a world of
conflict and tension. Last century saw two global wars and this
century started with the escalating war against terrorism. At the
same time the global economy went into a deep recession and we had to
face consequences of the economic downturn and reckless management.
This is also an era of Wikileaks and an ever increasing demand for
transparency. Managers can no longer hide their true colours thanks
to the latest information technology, easier whistle-blowing and the
demand for more ethical business practises. The Machiavellian
management style does not work anymore. Not even Milton Friedman’s
straightforward shareholder value approach is any more appropriate
(McShane & Travaglione, 2007, p. 15). Global changes and
challenges affect businesses on all levels. Corporate social
responsiveness and social performance has become an increasingly
important trend in the global business environment (Crane &
Matten, 2010, p. 60). A renowned Buddhist philosopher and leader
Daisaku Ikeda has written that a change in a single individual can
cause a change in the destiny of the nation and the whole human kind
(Ikeda, 1998). He underlines also throughout his voluminous writings
the importance of gratitude as an essential cause for inner
transformation. My approach in this work is to describe a new way of
applying Web 2.0 technologies to heal organisations by implementing
gratitude as an underlying principle for positive organisational
change. Gratitude can cause organisations to grow towards the
wellbeing and happiness of all and to be the change for better that
could help change the world as well. Managers and leaders who work on
the strategic level are trying to see the wood from the trees. They
try to implement strategies, processes and policies based on the
latest organisational behaviour theories. To change the organisations
from value neutral to driven by positive values. However, they should
remember that it is the individual tree that can carry the disease
that could potentially destroy the whole forest. Managers look from
above but the change needs to be built within each individual ‘tree’
in the forest, starting from within managers themselves. The method
is simple. I call it Management by Gratitude and it is one of the
easiest ways to change the organisational behaviour (see Appendix 2).
The web 2.0 technology provides the conduit to effectively spread it
throughout the organisation. Management theories have traditionally
been based on the assumption (or at least having this utilitarian
assumption as an implicit approach) that people are objects and tools
in the hands of management. “They have increasingly converged on a
pessimistic view of human nature, on the role of companies in
society, and of the processes of corporate adaptation and
change”(Goshal, 2005, p. 82). These theories have caused management
to put the emphasis on supervision and control (Goshal, 2005, p. 84)
and not on looking for creative ways to add value to the
organisation, let alone increase gratitude shown to staff. Goshal
gives a colourful example of how these theories can lead managers to
the extremes: “Combine agency theory with transaction costs
economics, add in standard versions of game theory and negotiation
analysis, and the picture of the manager that emerges is one now very
familiar in practice: the ruthlessly hard-driving, strictly top-down,
command-and-control focused, shareholder-valueobsessed,
win-at-any-cost business leader of which Scott Paper’s “Chainsaw”
Al Dunlap and Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski are only the most extreme
examples”(Goshal, 2005, p. 85). To take an alternative approach we
can use the positive psychology created by Professor Martin Seligman
with his associates. “The field of positive psychology at the
subjective level is about valued subjective experience: well-being,
contentment, and satisfaction (in the past); hope and optimism (for
the future); and flow and happiness (in the present)” (Seligman,
2000, p. 5). This view is challenging because it demands a totally
different mindset from the managers. Instead of creating control
systems and supervision they need to let people come first with their
ideas and become fulfilled individuals – and that includes managers
themselves. What could bridge the gap between Seligman’s and
Csikszentmihalyi’s creative and humanistic approach and theories
that are mainly based on Radical Individualism (appendix 1), that
cause so much trouble according to Goshal? The answer might be in the
way we share the decision making and rather than just supervise.