There has been no significant management theory or concept that has emerged since the late 1990s, but the population of management gurus continues to grow.
Yet, C.K. Prahalad, who died on Friday, was the last of his breed, the only surviving member of an earlier generation of management gurus that had managed to transcend the limited definition of that term.
Some management gurus grow to become capitalist philosophers. And a few of these capitalist philosophers manage the transition to social or human philosophers.
Prahalad managed to do this with his so-called bottom of the pyramid theory that recognizes that the poor aren’t just a market waiting to be tapped (though they are that too), but real people with very real needs and motivations.
Prahalad was one of the finest management thinkers of our time, but he was also a humanist. That made him unique.