Ctrl+R! Pleasure, Beta, and Abundance

October 19, 2022

There is no useful reflection about organizations with a view only focused on their internal issues. Organizations are set, oftentimes as central characters, in a broader context within societies.

Therefore, it becomes fundamental to understand the contemporary phenomena that have already influenced the organizational model – and will certainly still determine new reconfiguration rounds. Three primordial elements stand out: pleasure, beta, and abundance.

These are three converging megatrends with an impact on reinterpreting values, repositioning prices, revolutionizing uses and habits, refining business models and restructuring institutions, frameworks and systems. It is these 5 Rs that define the contemporary context we live in, inside and outside organizations.

It is important to incorporate external views in perspective with the challenges of organizational reconfiguration, once organizations ultimately are social expressions that adhere to specific contexts over time.

Pleasure, always and more

The social ethics transition is one of the most impactful phenomena from the last turn of the century. Obedience, sense of duty and the desire to conform have given increasingly more way to irreverence, self-reference and fondness for disruption. The ethics of pleasure is overriding the ethics of duty.

The institutional flagellation of stable, hierarchic and predictable constructs has spread across family units, communities, governments and churches. It is precisely in this void of psychosocial stays that pleasure presents itself less as an idyllic climax and more as a gravitational axis revolving around individual passions.

Hence, the oppressive neurosis gives way to the anguishing neurosis. The ethics of pleasure is no walk in the park, but rather a broken heel. The entrepreneurs of self avidly pursue their own image of success projected in a spiral without sharp edges, without boundaries, without contradictions.

In the organizational environment, the ethics of pleasure has changed the work ethos completely. Loyalty, stability and hierarchy have been replaced by connection, experience and expression. The humanization of professional relationships is, therefore, also associated to the appreciation of the individual within the collective setting.

Always beta, always on

‘Always beta, always on’ seems to be the lyrics to a song, but these words increasingly represent the motto of the new day. Previously, the traditional productive logics that would process external signs in the format of inputs for a careful strategic plan drafted inside-out. Now, the impetuousness of the impulse driven by pulses.

It is a fact the competitive digital arena has challenged organizations with successive ephemeral, unstable, unpredictable and complex waves. The core set of organizational paradigms – coordination, efficiency and well-being– is in check exactly for the inability of concord between the monoliths and the fluid.

Hub-centricity, share-of-wallet and user experience are new value drivers that have redefined whole industries and are now part of the daily lingo of the business universe. Being BETA, being ON, in a certain way, express the winning organizational reconfiguration. Accelerating, disrupting, and integrating.

(Ir)rational abundance

Longevity has high impact on the actuarial unbalance of the planet’s largest pension funds. In a few years, in the face of the risk of insolvency, managers have adjusted their risk appetites to more volatile classes of assets.

Billions and billions of dollars have been poured into more aggressive assets such as, for instance, private equity funds, hedge funds and venture capital. The abundance of capital has surely caused certain inflation in the capitalization of start-ups, in addition to accelerating the financial feasibility of quite incipient projects.

Even with the recent adjustment of market value appraisals and with the hike in interest rates associated to public securities, the abundance of capital still is very relevant to support the growth of alternative assets. In addition to the scarcity of human capital specialized in technology, the abundant financial resources have accelerated innovation curves, seldom picked up by incumbents in the various economic sectors, even despite the historically low return on the capital employed on such more erratic investment outlets.