After WWII the U.S. economy transitioned from a wartime to normal economy. In the 1960s the first large (30,000 square feet) discount stores appeared, K-Mart being a notable example. What K-Mart represented is that retailers could no longer succeed by pushing basic merchandise at the consumer. Instead the retailer had to offer a varied merchandise assortment from which the consumer "pulled" what they wanted.
Roll forward to today and we see several opportunities for the transition from push to pull. Instead of a doctor-centric approach ("push") to healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, the large healthcare provider, is switching to a patient-centric model ("pull") and achieving significant cost savings to boot. Another example is in university education where the monopoly of universities has broken down in favor of MOOCs and other providers such as Kahn Academy. Now students cannot only select what and where they learn subjects but when--high school, university or as part of lifelong learning. Healthcare and education may suggest that many services that are heavily regulated by the government are going to transition from push to pull. However, as is the case in education, the consumer is initiating the change and not usually the service provider.
In a recent article, Networked Leadership, the author makes the point that leadership is transitioning to a pull model directed from the bottom rather than an asymmetric, top-down push model. To me it makes sense that if the business is living in a real time environment dictated by the customer, then leadership and management styles have to change to much less rigid, hierarchical alternatives.