Managerial Behaviour, Performance and Effectiveness
The first requirement in determining the behaviour, performance and effectiveness of a manager is an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the manager. The foundations of management are:
- Conceive the project
- Develop a plan, a strategy for achieving the project
- Recruit and motivate effective people to carry out the strategic plan
- Develop these people into an effective well-motivated team to achieve the goals the manager or leader envisions.
To achieve the appraisal of the effectiveness of a manager it is necessary to define a series of concepts and terms as they are used in this study. It is further necessary to examine a number of management models and the impact that these models must have on others. What follows is a list of the terms and models used.
Strategy is originally a military concept that refers to achieving success in a military campaign or victory in a single battle. Probably the earliest discussion of strategy can be attributed to a Chinese general named Sun Tzu somewhere between 722 and 481 BC. His first work on military strategy is still current in many ways and according to Mark McNeilly during the Persian Gulf War helped form the military thinking of both generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell. He is also quoted as writing, “For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” (Sun Tzu) (McNeilly) A textbook used many years ago in the officer’s training course by the US Marine Corps defines Strategies as. “The most effective and efficient use that can be made of available resources following a detailed inventory.” It follows this statement up with the statement that “…the tactics used to execute this strategy should be developed with the goals of achieving strategic objective with minimum expenditure of assets, and casualties. Human resources are those most difficult to replace.” (Basic Officer’s Handbook, 1952)
Tactics from the military standpoint historically involve the manoeuvre of large elements of a force, but currently are the lowest level of planning, involving small units ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred personnel. (Basic Officer’s Handbook, 1952) Much the same thing is true in business where strategy involved the resources of the overall organization while tactics involve much lower echelon elements of the organization. For example sales tactics or logistics planning are clearly elements in management, but they are tactical considerations as opposed to strategic goals.
Management has almost as many definitions are there are authors discussing it. It is part art, part science, part process, part function, part activity and part personality; and all of these things at the same time. Mullins describes it as “…a multiplicity of interrelated factors that influence the behaviour and performance of people as members of a work organisation.” (Mullins, 2007) Conversely, Helga Drummond looks at the problem from interpretative and critical point of view. If it were attempted to refine the objectives of management into two or three critical elements the first would be to sponsor commitment on the part of the staff or workforce. This may be the single most important key to using human resources effectively and efficiently. The key here is that the employee views his or her interests and those of the employer as complementary. They view their goals and those of the organisation as the same or at least complementary. (Coetzee, 2005) Perhaps the best single definition is from the works of Mary Parker Follet, “management is the art of getting things done through others.”
Motivation can be clearly identified as one of the key components of management and the ability to motivate as a key asset of the successful manager. One of the most important factors that leads individuals, and through the individuals involved companies or organizations, to success is motivation or drive. This drive may come from internal sources, but it can be generated externally as well. A simple pat on the shoulder from a superior after a well done presentation can provide an incredible level of future motivation, (Motivation. 2010) The University of Minnesota has a short but interesting website on motivation. It does a good job of relating goals to motivations and explains the relationships between the two simply and clearly. It emphasises the importance of “motivation that comes from within really makes the difference.” (University of Minnesota, 2006)
From the standpoint of management there is obviously a close relationship between goal setting and motivation. The module for which this project is being prepared is entitled “Managing self and others”. This obviously is closely connected to the problem of goal setting and then communicating the set goals to others, subordinates, for execution. According to David Schrader the ability to control one’s environment is a key skill for the competent communicator and hence the effective executive. One of the ways that executives or individuals can exercise such control is through getting others to comply with his or her requests. (Schrader, 1999) It is concluded by Schrader that many theorists consider goals the basis for management planning and that pursuing multiple goals in a single message is common. This is of key importance to executives in communicating with subordinates.
It seems almost redundant to say that it is important to communicate a sense of urgency at all the levels of the organization to gain the commitment from the ranks management is seeking. Christopher Loach does an excellent job of demonstrating this with a brief example and some explanatory phrases. The example is, “We walked through the factory, which consisted of highly automated lines with few workers. We came upon a back room, in which four people in blue coveralls were drinking coffee and huddling over some blueprints. As evaluators, we asked, “So, who are you, and what are you doing here?” One of the workers answered our question with ease: “We are the electricians for this area. Since the plant is competing with Portuguese sister factories that have lower cost, the plant has as its strategic goal to reduce the cost per unit by 10 percent while slightly improving quality. One of the contributors to this goal is line up time, which is reduced by electricity failures. Therefore, we have put a number of measures in place in order to reduce line downtime due to electricity problems by two-thirds, and we are now sitting here on call in order to trouble-shoot and discuss which of the new measures does not yet work fully.”
What a “simple” blue-collar worker had just done was outline the primary operating strategy of the organization! Had some executive done a good communications job, and motivated a group of lower level subordinates to extraordinary efforts? They are motivated, empowered, made to feel that there are of key importance to the organization, and are involved and empowered to make a real difference? This ability to contribute is in itself a motivator.
In an interesting approach to management skills Julian Birkinshaw begins with the manager as the person who gets things done as this project begins. He however goes off into the “leader” who inspires, and motivates the workforce. The “leader” then begins to articulate the vision and the development strategy and becomes far more important than the manager who is nothing but a guy who gets things done, hopefully on time. Dr. Birkinshaw proposes that the manager take on a new responsibility, teach this “wonderful leader” how to manage. The point is managers have a very negative image and research has shows that almost everyone from outsiders to subordinates distrusts managers. Mr. Birkinshaw is highly negative in his assessment of management and the image of management and proposes it should be reinvented. He proposes that management is the act of coordinating human activities to accomplish desired goals. He further proposes that this simple definition omits a number of important functions such as planning, organization, staffing, controlling, or any of the “dozen other activities” that are usually associated with management. He proposes further that management is actually a social activity where in the literature they are increasingly characterized as low level bureaucrats who are internally focused, absorbed in operational details, controlling and coordinating the work of their subordinates, and dealing with office politics.(Birkenshaw, 2010)
It is far from the position of this paper that all that Dr. Birkinshaw proposes is universally true. It is obvious that there are any number of charismatic leader/managers mentioned in the business press and literature. To suggest only a few, Steve Jobs of Apple, Carlos Ghosn of Renault/Nissan, Jack Welch of GE and most recently Edward Whitacre who lead GM from disgrace and bankruptcy back to profitability and almost to respectability. All of these people have different personalities and management/leadership styles. Probably all have respect and trust in both the business community and with the public contrary to the illusions created by Dr. Birkenshaw.
The classic statement concerning management by objective (MBO) is the is one of Peter Drucker’s objectives that all the managers in the firm of all rank or level should be involved in the strategic planning process. Perhaps the most outstanding source on the topic of management by objective is Peter Drucker. The term was first outlined in his book, “The Practice of Management”, first published in 1954. It has remained a basic text since its publication. The Drucker approach can be simplified to include a subordinate and a supervisor who jointly plan, set objectives and standards and choose actions. Their second joint step is to Individually act in performing the task by the subordinate supervised by the superior and as a third step jointly controls the output of the process. The review the results, discuss the implementation and review the MBO cycle to see where improvement is possible. Dr. Drucker emphasis the importance of avoiding “the activity trap” or getting so involved in the day-to-day activities that the primary purpose of objective is ignored. (Drucker, 1954)
The success of management in turn can be considered based on its ability to achieve objectives or goals set in the strategic plan. Gagnon, Jansen and Michael contend that lack of communication between management and the organization leads to a lack of commitment on the part of the organization to the goals and objectives set in the strategic plan. This in turn is based on a failure to communicate properly between management and the organization. With this failure comes as a result of the inability or resistance of individual employees and adopt the necessary behaviours to achieve the strategic objectives. They cite several studies that indicate that strategy implementation is primarily goal related and often technical in nature and strategy misalignment reflects an absence of goal-directed behaviour. (Gagnon, Jansen, Michael, 2008)
A variation on this is the discussion of the “Performance Management System” by Gunaratne and Du Plessis. To simplify a highly complex topic a performance management system is a communication channel between the corporate management and the vast body of staff that actually runs the company produces and sells the product or service. The objective here is to compensate or reward each individual within the organization commensurate to his or her contribution. To achieve this it is necessary to have a system that will honestly and fairly evaluate these contributions. Senior management needs the tools to respond to questions or concerns of the fairness of their policies. Employees care a great deal about the fairness of compensation and have a vision of their own careers. The organisation must have a realistic framework to enable individuals to maximize their potential and realize their goals. It must be a goal of management not only to produce products and profits,but also to produce an environment where people are rewarded and want to work.“The implementation of fair performance management systems that employees believe in with honesty and commitment provides a powerful foundation for employees to achieve their ambitions and organisations to achieve their key financial results and sustain their competitive edge. A performance management system must be managed properly to optimise their employees’ capabilities and competencies in the organization.”(Gunaratne, Du Plessis, 2007) This returns to the concept of management by objective. Building an organisation must be a key managementgoal , and to do this they need happy and committed people.
Functions, goals and essentiality, the importance of managerial skills and organisational hierarchy
This is essentially a continuation of the concepts of management by objective discussed above. The key managerial skills under discussion are strategic planning and leadership through good communications with the organisation. It is impossible to imagine an effective and “good” management without these key traits. It is impossible to overstate the importance of basic management skills such as organisation, communications skills, imagination and the strategic planning capability.
The question of managerial hierarch is another element entirely. It is in many respects a function of the size of the organisation in question. The underlying question is who can make the final decision? The conventional way to look at this is the traditionalhierarchical organisation. This is in many respects the very similar to a military pattern where the private makes no decisions and the general’s decision is final. In fact, probably the first organisations were military in nature where a leader commanded his followers in competition with other groups. This is a classic pyramidal structure with the Chief Executive Officer (the general) at the top with various vice presidents (officers) under him or her and so on. Below these managerial (officer) levels are the workers or production employees (the troops, sergeants and privates). The underlying characteristic is the one to one relations up and down in the hierarchy. The private goes to the corporal for a decision and probably never sees a general, but knows there is a sergeant directly above the corporal.
The alternative forms of organisation include networks, virtual organisation; self managed teams, learning organisations, self-organising systems and matrix organisations. These forms have a number of characteristics. They are geared to make organisations more receptive, more adaptive and capable of generating new ideas. They are focused on meeting the needs of all stakeholders. These new forms prove a number of attributes.
They provide for strong employee involvement which results from systemic input from those closest to preferred outcome and those most “in-the know” as to the organisation’s ability to achieve the outcomes preferred by its stakeholders.
These new organisational forms have fewer rules and regulations and sometimes lack clear boundaries of departments and responsibilities, which result in constant evolutions in form.
In the non-traditional organization authority is based on individual capability; thus insuring the organization remains a means to an end and not an end in itself
Alliances tend to takes advantage of economies of scale. This in turn implies, collaborations, networks, strategic alliances, mergers, and so forth.
Managements tend to evolve into teams,which share activities to take advantage of economies of scale at the lowest levels of activities and ensure the full involvement of employees even at the lowest levels.
All of these elements produce flatter, decentralized organizationswith less middle management. This results in top management exchanging more feedback with those providing products and services; while reducing overhead costs.
The flatter organization will tend to have less political competition simply because there are less decision levels, hence less opportunity to play political games within the organization.
This modified organizational format makes participants mindfulof environments, changes, patterns and themes. It produces a priority on reflection and inquiry to learn from experience; hence it develops into a “learning organization. ” (McNamera, no date)
Theoretical review of management what models and theories
It is generally agreed that the four functions of management are planning organizing leading and coordinating. While there are academic theorists that have developed so called management models, such as contingency theory systems theory and chaos theory.The following is a “simplistic’ explanation of these three theories.
Contingency theory is based on “it depends.” The manager is supposed to take into consideration all the possible outcomes and contingencies and develop a response. It looks at the task or problem involved. If the task is leading troops into combat the autocratic approach is called for. If the leadership task is running a university probably a much more participatory management is called for. In both cases the planning function is to anticipate problems and develop responses to all potential problems before they arise.
Systems theory is based on the concept outputs, resulting from the input of capital, raw material, technology and human resources. With the system there are plans, organisation, motivations and controls. Feedbacks are primarily information either generated within the system as it functions or externally from sources such as government or the market place.
Chaos theory is in many respects based on observation of biological systems that become increasingly complex, and this increasing complexity is considered inevitable. The observation is that with increasing complexity comes increasing volatility and susceptibility to cataclysmic events that are viewed as inevitable. The outcome is that the system splits into component parts, combines (merges?) with another system or simply collapses.
An interesting new theory is “freedom based management” which allows empowered employees who are aware of the organisational goals great flexibility in how they do their jobs to achieve those goals. The implications are far outside of this study, but offer fascinating possibilities in many respects. (Nobles, Stanley, 2010)
An analysis of management styles and the impact these have on others
The current thinking is that “the best management model” depends very much on the situation. Peter Drucker is perhaps the pre-eminent management thinker produced so far. The importance of chaos theory presented above is illustrated by the recent “crash” or “financial crisis”. What Dr. Drucker maintained was that economic activity is inevitably real, and the question is whether the “real economy” is really understood. He was blessed with an incredible ability to read and understand the present as a basis for developing management style and strategy. This is the underlying question posed by the postulate above.(De Bonon, Heller, no date)
What is presented here is a manager that is wise, understanding, logical, philosophical, quick thinking, humanistic, a leader, a planner and a doer. There are very few paragons among humanity. The conclusion is that each manager/leader must find his or her own method of planning and leading his or her organisation. Alas, there is no single formula or description of a “good’ manager or CEO or general or prime minister or president. Watch any contemporary new program on televisions and there is President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President Barack Obama of the United States and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. Each in his own way is a capable executive and leader, but their approaches to their jobs are vastly different and the personalities even more so. Each has a unique leadership and management style, and each is more or less effective at any given time or relative to any given problem. The obvious conclusion is that there is no single answer to the question posed by the title of this work.
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