Do you have the ‘GAFA’ factor at your workplace?

GAFA means Google – Apple – Facebook – & Amazon. It’s not an exaggeration to write that these four companies not only control the global economy but are, moreover under insignificant oversight by the governments that should control them, causing industry changing disruptions.

Facebook, as we have learned recently knows more about individuals than individuals know about themselves; Apple, the saner of the four, has hooked us on to a well executed and integrated set of products and services – the iPhone, iPad, Macs and now the Apple Watch and all the software in them; we have been warned that Apple may soon venture into the automobile industry – Google watches and controls our every step on the internet and forces us, without choice, to live a mercantile lifestyle with the millions of adverts put before us – and finally Amazon, with its financial muscle and the disruption it has brought to certain industry sectors; be careful talking about Amazon infront of the Postal-Union and traditional book publishers

GAFA is the giant of the new economic age. Fair competition is no longer the sole determining factor of viable laissez-faire economics, but also, the ability/inability to control companies. Indeed, firms like GAFA appear to compete fairly but are in reality hard to regulate

The French President Emmanuel Macron has put it so well for us all; that GAFA – is not only too big to fail, but also govern. GAFA is pushing the boundaries of modern economic regulation beyond the twin matters of fair-competition and firm-indispensability, to the ‘ability’ of sovereign states to exercise the required control over the GAFA’s of the world. The market, let alone governments can’t regulate this new economic creature

Now, take a step back and apply this GAFA power factor to any organization – family firm, family, or your employer. The places we have to go Monday to Friday to be able to put bread and butter on the table and to associate

GAFA at the workplace

It’s down the GAFA alley at the workplace

Let us delve a little more into what we call the GAFA situational factors. The circumstances that make GAFA be the economic giant it is today

GAFA situational factors

GAFA is extremely disruptive as already shared above. GAFA has created some very powerful innovations that have changed the manner in which we interact plus keep a pulse on the what, where, when, including deep inside our bodies (read Apple Watch). Amazon has disrupted postal-services and the retail industry value chain; Google has redefined marketing, etc.

To cause disruption and at the same time control others require organizing-to-dominate acumen – that is exactly what GAFA brings to the table

GAFA has created negative-externalities. Hundreds of well-meaning citizens have lost their jobs in industry sectors where they have spent most of their lives working; governments have been forced to pay money to re-skill citizens that are the victims of industry disruption and subsequent layoffs; even more concerning for the governments, they are not always successful at levying corporate taxes as GAFA can operate in cyberspace, and in-between borders – the orthodox tax-man approach can no longer do the trick. In effect, GAFA continues to wreak havoc for both the individuals and governments

GAFA is powerful and skilled at threading through complex terrain whether national, regional, supranational or global. President Macron talks to the issue of the loss of ability to control GAFA. It’s the modern amoeba that can use its ability to freely morph, to survive and dominate those that are supposed to control them. GAFA can navigate and get away with what others can’t

Finally – GAFA is an ideology into which many have been indoctrinated. Many of us can’t survive without our Apple gadgets – Google – or Facebook. GAFA is addictive. It’s indoctrination at its best.

Now, at your workplace, look out for individuals and groups that exhibit the GAFA situational factors: disruptive, OD. negative-externalities, and obsession with ideology.

These individuals and teams are usually disruptive – cause significant OD. negative externalities at work – are obsessed with effectiveness and not necessarily efficiency, and generally cause a lousy work climate which costs companies money since they have to continually manage staff exit and hire – and most of all, they weave a well-knit OD.-fabric that connects so well their constituency and the brand that employs them – like GAFA, their OD. fabric and ideology appear indispensable

GAFA conditions at work cause organizational toxicity which ultimately dwarfs brands

Left uncontrolled, GAFA OD. protagonists behave like a dominant species that exterminates others in the wild, by the promulgation of those that act like them

Like nation states are trying to do, and not that they have been successful just as yet, managers and leaders ought to identify and neutralize the GAFA constituency in the workplace.



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  1. The big-size vs efficiency dilemma – Gabazira's blog

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