KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University with Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I am delighted to talk with my colleague Henry Mintzberg, one of the pre-eminent management thinkers in the world.
Henry, your new book just came out, Rebalancing Society, what is your key argument in this new book?
HENRY MINTZBERG – That we are dangerously out of balance in some obvious ways like global warming and so on, income disparities and so on, but these things all add up to one gigantic imbalance which I see as being a swing to private-sector forces and individualism carried to an extreme. A healthy society has a strong private sector, has strong individualism and forces strong respect for individual needs, but it also has a strong public sector and collective needs and has a strong plural sector – or the non-for-profit sector or social sector – that looks after communal needs and our needs to affiliate and be part of a community. We had better do something about this because we are in deep trouble.
KARL MOORE – Where will renewal come from as we try to change the balance in our society?
HENRY MINTZBERG – Governments won't do it because they have been so co-opted by private-sector forces and so marginalized by globalization forces where globalization really means economic globalization and there are very few controls on global corporations. We talk a lot about corporate social responsibility, which I applaud, but it will not make up for corporate social irresponsibility and we are seeing more and more of that now, everywhere, on all kinds of fronts. So if the private sector and the public sector aren't going to do it then who is going to do it? It's the plural sector and that means you, Karl, and that means me, and we and all kinds of people. I have something in the book called the Irene question. Irene is a financial manager who worked in the private and the plural sector and she read the book because her husband helped me to prepare it. Her response was, "Gee, I never realized things were that bad, what can I do?" And that is the question everybody has to start asking themselves, everybody.