Old (Fordist) versus New (ICT)

I first encountered the terms “Fordist (old)” and “ICT (new)” in a 2006 article by Olumuyiwa Asaolu. Since then, I have seen the terms used in earlier works, and they are used to differentiate the nature of organizations and the work they do (and the workers and leaders they need). I summarized the differences in my 2015 book using this chart:

old versus new organizations

The puzzling thing to me is the degree to which schools appear to be holding firm to their methods and strategies that are so deeply aligned with Fordist (old) organizations. I recently observed two interns who were working in very different organizations. In each, the ICT (new) nature of the workplace was obvious. When I returned to school, however, I heard bells ringing, teachers lecturing, and other reminders of school designed for and industrial society.

As we look at the future from many and different perspectives, we have a hop of countering the forces that keep our schools from transforming into the places our students need them to be.


Asaolu, Olumuyiwa. 2006. “On the Emergence of New Computer Technologies.” Educational Technology & Society 9(1): 335-343.