Business on the brain
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Indian-born management guru tops The Thinkers 50 biennial poll of the most influential living business people
The most influential living management guru in the world is C. K. Prahalad, according to The Thinkers 50 biennial poll of business thinkers. Prahalad is the first Indian-born thinker to claim the title.
Best known for his work with Gary Hamel on resource-based strategy, which gave rise to the term “core competences“, Prahalad has since turned his attention to the world?s poor. In The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (2004), he argues that capitalism can be the engine to eradicate poverty.
In second place is another man who wants to change the world: Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. Once vilified by IT purists, Gates?s stature as a technology pioneer is enhanced by his philanthropic work. Third place goes to the former head of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, whose book, The Age of Turbulence, has struck a chord with businesspeople around the world.
Michael Porter, who topped the list in 2005 and is best known for his work on competitive positioning, sees his own competitive advantage eroded as he tumbles to fourth.
Elsewhere, strategists are on the rise, capturing ten of the top 50 slots and accounting for four of the top ten. Cruising up the rankings are the Insead-based Korean, W. Chan Kim and the American Ren?e Mauborgne, whose best-selling book, Blue Ocean Strategy, created a swell of support that lifts their boat nine places to sixth.
If 2007 is the year of the strategists it also sees the rise of the Indian thinkers. Although the list is still dominated by North Americans (37 of the 50), including the former US Vice-President-turned-green-warrior Al Gore, there are several Indian-born management gurus. Aside from Prahalad there is Ram Charan (22), a CEO coach; Vijay Govindarajan, of Tuck Business School (23); and Harvard?s Rakesh Khurana (45). As yet, no Chinese guru has emerged, but Kim and the Japanese globalisation guru Kenichi Ohmae remain in the top flight.
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