Dr. Andreas Zeuch (*1968) accompanies companies on the way to greater participation and corporate democracy as a consultant, trainer and speaker. In 2015, he published his fifth book, “All Power for No One. Departure of the Business Democrats”. He blogs about this again and again new content on his homepage on the topic of corporate democracy. In this process, I talked to him about four topics that play a major role in my current research.

ANDREAS ZEUCH ABOUT:

… THE CURRENT SITUATION IN GERMAN COMPANIES

Zeuch currently complains that the majority of companies in Germany are often still too “arrested” in old models of leadership, culture and work. In addition, he often perceives hesitation in trying out new models. He cites as a reason that many of these models have not yet been tested from the point of view of the managing directors and the board of directors and that there are no long-term studies. That is why, in his book All Power for Nobody, he has set out first examples of alternative models that can work and that companies that organize themselves democratically can be very successful economically. It is not a guarantee, but it is definitely an alternative to traditional organisation. After all, top-down-led companies also fail – even more often than democratic ones, simply because most companies have traditional leadership models.

… THE HYPE AROUND AGILE COMPANY

One often hears the phrase “Only agile companies are sustainable”. Here Zeuch strongly contradicts and sees a generalization out of place. As an example, he cites, among other things, “stable markets” such as local transport. A stable environment and little to no competition require less agility. In highly creative areas, agile companies will still have a significant competitive advantage. Zeuch adds, however, that even corporations in crisis can often continue to generate business and ignore current trends for years to come. What is clear, however, is that “it cannot go on forever.”

… THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Overall, the digital transformation is a “buzzword and hype” for Zeuch. However, he sees this hype as important, but criticizes the way he deals with it. At many conferences and think tanks, he notes that many managers view this transformation only from a purely technical point of view. That is why Zeuch calls for a concentration on the “sociotechnical” and cultural level. The new generation is growing up with digital technology, learning a new way of communicating and dealing with technology. This will lead to profound social and cultural changes in society. It is up to us to understand them now and to react to them, says Zeuch.

… THE “NEW WORK”

There are many terms for “new work,” such as Work 4.0,NewWork, FutureWork, etc., according to Zeuch. However, not all content is new. It is even true the opposite. But often the concepts and methods were not yet mature or unworkable at the time of their first publication.

According to Zeuch, the idea behind the new work is simple: “Everyone who wants to can help shape, no one has to, and everyone has to bear the consequences.” However, this is not so easy to generalise. So, beyond my subjective impressions, there seems to be a development towards “new work”. The desire for more participation, co-determination and self-determination is by no means due to the supposedly so self-determined younger generations, but is shown across generations, says Zeuch and refers to the study “The call for freedom: Innovation-promoting working environments from the point of view of the workers” by Hays, the FutureAlliance Of Work & Society e.  V. (ZAAG) and the Society for Knowledge Management e.  V. (GfWM). His impressions are supported by a IBM’s studystates that for Generation Y, financial security and job security are the key factors in the choice of employer.

Zeuch perceives that a profession is increasingly more than just “the exercise of a job”. The freedom of choice in the profession has never been greater, according to Zeuch. Today, everyone can choose their own profession. Even psychological barriers such as “My father was a doctor, and I am now also going to be a doctor” are increasingly being dismantled and everyone is basically able to learn any profession – apart from the usual educational hurdles.

Conclusion

Overall, the dialogue shows that certain highly creative areas are in a state of upheaval. However, agility and “new work” are not a guarantee of success, but a serious alternative. In the course of the research, the sensible use of agile methods in companies will continue to be investigated.

HOW DO YOU SEE THAT?

If you would like to learn more about the “New Work”, you are welcome to participate in the roundtables and discuss relevant topics with me and other experts. Or write in the comments how to deal with this trend. Read also my article about digital work or the blog of Andreas Zeuch! Have a look at the books of agile experts.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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