Applying the concept of historical waves originally propounded by Alvin Toffler in The Third Wave, Herman Maynard and Susan Mehrtens look toward the next century and foresee a "fourth wave," an era of integration and responsibility far beyond Toffler's revolutionary description of third-wave postindustrial society. Whether we attain this stage of global well-being, however, will depend on how well our business institutions adapt and change.
The Fourth Wave examines the ways business has changed in the second and third waves and must continue to change in the fourth. The changes concern the basics-how an institution is organized, how it defines wealth, how it relates to surrounding communities, how it responds to environmental needs, and how it takes part in the political process.
Maynard and Mehrtens foresee a radically different future in which business principles, concern for the environment, personal integrity, and spiritual values are integrated. The authors also demonstrate the need for a new kind of leadership-managers and CEOs who embrace an attitude of global stewardship; who define their assets as ideas, information, creativity, and vision; and who strive for seamless boundaries between work and private lives for all employees.