Articles authored by Mintzberg, Henry


A visit to Ghana, with the hosts interested in developing leaders and the guest interested in developing countries, led to a questioning of both. Three approaches to development were discussed. The top-down government planning approach, discredited with the fall of communism, has been replaced by an outside-in ‘globalisation’ approach, which is now promoted as the way to develop an economy. But has any nation ever developed by throwing itself open to foreign companies, capital, experts, and beliefs?

In this article, we challenge the notion that complex and resilient problems – such as global warming and poverty – will have to be resolved by governments or responsible corporations. Instead, we argue for the potency of social initiatives promoted by communities of engaged people. A variety of experiences from around the world, and especially from Brazilians with their “Why not?” temperament, suggest characteristics of the origin, development, and diffusion of these initiatives. We conclude that social initiatives, by addressing local problems of a global nature, using networks connected across communities, may be the greatest hope for this troubled world.

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