The Challenge of the 21st Century

Managing Technology and Ourselves in a Shrinking World

By Harold A. Linstone & Ian I. Mitroff

Subjects: Science And Technology
Paperback : 9780791419502, 430 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791419496, 430 pages, July 1994

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Table of contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



Part 1: Introduction

1. Hedgehogs or Foxes?

Part 2: The Alaska Oil Spill

2. Technical Perspectives

3. Organizational Perspectives

4. Personal Perspectives

5. Implications

Part 3: About Multiple Perspectives

6. T, O, and P

Part 4: The U.S. at the Edge of the 21st Century


7. The Technical Perspectives

8. Linking Technical and Organizational Perspectives

9. Linking Organizational and Personal Perspectives

10. Linking Technical and Personal Perspectives

11. The Inseparability of T, O, and P

Part 5: Complexities and Imperatives

12. Accepting the Challenge

Appendix A: A Sampling of Ways to Integrate Perspectives

Appendix B: Ten Guidelines for Multiple Perspective Users




The population and technology explosions are shrinking the world to a system in which everything is interactive, forcing us to transcend traditional modes of thinking. In this book, the authors set forth the concept of multiple perspectives: technical, organizational, and personal. They begin the book with a multiple-perspective examination of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, a case that foreshadows the intensifying problem of managing hazardous technology in the coming decades. They then apply this approach, on a much larger scale, to the United States in the evolving global setting. Included in the discussion are issues such as the balance between short-term and long-term concerns and between individual and societal responsibilities. The interdependence and inseparability of the three perspectives is reflected in the focus on technological superiority, organizational rethinking, and imaginative personal leadership.

This book will help managers and students in business, engineering, science, and policymaking break away from exclusive concern with the technical perspective and thus help prepare them for the challenges of a new era.

Harold A. Linstone is University Professor Emeritus of Systems Science at Portland State University and editor-in-chief of Technological Forecasting and Social Change. He is the author or co-author of a number of books, including Multiple Perspectives for Decision Making and The Unbounded Mind: New Approaches to Business Thinking. Ian I. Mitroff is the Harold Quinton Distinguished Professor of Business Policy and Director of the Center for Crisis Management in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is the author of The Subjective Side of Science and co-author of five other books.


"This book is a substantial contribution to futures research, societal analysis, and related fields, as would be expected from two senior professionals. It presents well-organized, balanced thinking about future trends, issues, and uncertainties." — Thomas F. Mandel, SRI International