Messages From the Management Past: Classic Writers and Contemporary Problems.
In his 1990 book Managing on the Edge, Robert Pascale quoted a confused Midwestern marketing manager:
In the past 18 months we have heard that profit is more important than revenue, quality is more important than profit, that people are more important than profit, that customers are more important than our people, that big customers are more important than our small customers, and that growth is the key to our success. No wonder our performance is inconsistent (p. 18).
These statements reflect the confusion of the practicing manager. The rapid industrial expansion following World War II fueled the need for management talent as companies mobilized to meet the burgeoning consumer demand of a peacetime economy, focusing corporate attention on "management development" and the quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue
look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the "professional managers." From the end of World War II End of World War II can refer to:
From this perspective, today's management environment has changed little since 1990. A recent book by John Micklethwait John Micklethwait, born in 1962, has been editor-in-chief of The Economist magazine since March 23, 2006. Previously he was United States editor of the publication and ran the New York Bureau for two years, having edited the Business Section of the newspaper for the and Adrian Wooldridge Adrian Wooldridge is the Washington Bureau Chief and 'Lexington' columnist for the Economist magazine.
Wooldridge was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied modern history, and was awarded a fellowship at All Souls College, also at Oxford, where he (1996) further bemoaned the state of management theory:
From this notion came the title for their book, The Witch Doctors witch doctor: see medicine man; shaman. : Making Sense of the Management Gurus. Micklethwait and Wooldridge speculated that the speed of development has increased twofold since 1990, attributing this "frenzy" of management theories to an increased reliance by managers on general concepts rather than custom-tailored, in-house interventions. However, carrying their analysis further than Pascale, they deal with what might be termed the "flakier fringe" of management theory -- "the wilder areas where [management theory] mixes with self-help, philosophy, futurology futurology
Study of current trends in order to forecast future developments. The field originated in the “technological forecasting” developed near the end of World War II and in studies examining the consequences of nuclear conflict. , or downright quackery Quackery
inferior doctor; formerly a barber performing dentistry and surgery. [Medicine: Misc.]
Dulcamara, Dr. " (1996, p. 304). In their sweeping use of the term, "management theory" embraces everything from Frederick Taylor's Scientific Management to Hillary Clinton's conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt. The result is a scathing treatise A scholarly legal publication containing all the law relating to a particular area, such as Criminal Law or Land-Use Control.
Lawyers commonly use treatises in order to review the law and update their knowledge of pertinent case decisions and statutes. on what these authors term an immature discipline still awaiting a John Maynard Keynes Noun 1. John Maynard Keynes - English economist who advocated the use of government monetary and fiscal policy to maintain full employment without inflation (1883-1946)
Keynes or Milton Friedman Noun 1. Milton Friedman - United States economist noted as a proponent of monetarism and for his opposition to government intervention in the economy (born in 1912)
Management theory, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the case against it, has four defects: it is constitutionally incapable of self-criticism; its terminology usually confuses rather than educates; it rarely rises above basic common sense; and it is faddish fad·dish
1. Having the nature of a fad.
2. Given to fads.
faddish·ly adv. and bedeviled by contradictions that would not be allowed in more rigorous disciplines. Management gurus are con artists, the witch doctors of our age, playing on business people's anxieties in order to sell snake oil A product that has been proven to not live up to the vendor's marketing hype. The term comes from the 1800s in which elixirs and potions of all kinds, even ones that supposedly included the oils from snakes, were sold as a cure for everything that ailed a person. (1996, p. 12).
Are these authors correct? is management theory little more than a conglomeration con·glom·er·a·tion
a. The act or process of conglomerating.
b. The state of being conglomerated.
2. An accumulation of miscellaneous things. of contradictory fads? Are there enduring truths, or is management theory balancing on the edge of New Age mysticism mysticism (mĭs`tĭsĭzəm) [Gr.,=the practice of those who are initiated into the mysteries], the practice of putting oneself into, and remaining in, direct relation with God, the Absolute, or any unifying principle of life. ? This paper will attempt to address these questions. First, we will look briefly at current management thought through the eyes of today's practicing manager. What are the movements and themes enticing today's practitioner? Second, we will turn back to the classical era of management thought. What words of counsel might the classical authors have for today's executives to help them through the morass of "how to's See tutorials in this publication. "? Can timeless principles be identified, or, alternatively, be deemed incapable of existence?
Fad or Philosophy -- The Seduction Seduction
See also Flirtatiousness.
Selfishness (See CONCEIT, STINGINESS.)
modern Circe; sorceress who seduces Rinaldo. [Ital. Lit.: Jerusalem Delivered]
nobleminded would-be seducer. of the Witch Doctors
Although over 60% of the eight million new jobs created in the first half of this decade were categorized cat·e·go·rize
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.
cat as "managers or other professionals" (Micklethwait & Wooldridge, 1996), the success rate of the businesses managed has not improved. Only one-third of the leading companies identified in 1970 still exist today. In their 1982 blockbuster best seller, In Search of Excellence, Peters and Waterman identified eight properties they believed characterized successful companies, and these prescriptions had broad appeal to managers striving to move their organizations ahead or keep them from falling behind. Yet of the 43 firms identified as excellent by Peters and Waterman, two-thirds had fallen from the list within five years.
Micklethwait and Wooldridge concluded that the proliferation proliferation /pro·lif·er·a·tion/ (pro-lif?er-a´shun) the reproduction or multiplication of similar forms, especially of cells.prolif´erativeprolif´erous
n. of management theories and prescriptions is driven by two basic human instincts -- greed and fear The of this article or section may be compromised by "weasel words".
You can help Wikipedia by removing weasel words. . Although members of the academic community often challenge the scientific merit of these ideas or techniques dubbed dub 1
tr.v. dubbed, dub·bing, dubs
1. To tap lightly on the shoulder by way of conferring knighthood.
2. To honor with a new title or description.
3. "management theories," practitioners are more influenced by management writing in the popular or business press than by the more critical analysis or theory development offered by academicians.
For example, Total Quality Management (TQM (Total Quality Management) An organizational undertaking to improve the quality of manufacturing and service. It focuses on obtaining continuous feedback for making improvements and refining existing processes over the long term. See ISO 9000. ) was one of the more recent themes to capture the interest of practitioners. Although TQM became the mantra mantra (măn`trə, mŭn–), in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic words used in ritual and meditation. A mantra is believed to be the sound form of reality, having the power to bring into being the reality it represents. of the fashionable business manager in the 1980s, scientific theory development in support of TQM's philosophy and practices had just started in the early 1990s. Today, TQM is even considered passe pas·sé
1. No longer current or in fashion; out-of-date.
2. Past the prime; faded or aged.
[French, past participle of passer, to pass, from Old French; see by many practicing managers, not because it is unimportant, but rather because it has become nearly a prerequisite as the cost of entry into the global economy (Hodgetts, Luthans, & Lee, 1994). A more recent fad, although fading at this time, is "reengineering." It would be rare to find a practicing manager without some understanding of the reengineering concept, yet once again, substantive research on the effects of reengineering is minimal. Management does indeed appear to be that rare discipline where practice often drives theory.
Although their witch doctor analogy is open to question, Micklethwait and Wooldridge (1996) are on target with their analysis that the underlying contradiction within management theory is the pull between task and people, or as they term it, scientific and humanistic hu·man·ist
1. A believer in the principles of humanism.
2. One who is concerned with the interests and welfare of humans.
a. A classical scholar.
b. A student of the liberal arts. management. Most popular management philosophies focus on one or the other, seldom both. For the practitioner, these philosophies are viewed as opposite ends of a continuum, not as separate dimensions. TQM is often viewed as a statistical process tool, enabling managers to measure improvement of the task through use of benchmarks, measurements, and feedback. To others, TQM is an employee-oriented, customer-focused process, emphasizing the common purpose of job creation and joy in work (Deming, 1986). Most seem to have trouble viewing TQM as some of both. With reengineering there is less contrast in views. Reengineering is not humanistic, but is focused on radical redesign of the business to reduce cost, save time, and enhance service through the improvement of organizational processes (Stewart, 1993). In the view of Micklethwait & Wooldridge, it would work extremely well if "people were all unthinking automatons, without hearts or souls" (1996, p. 35). Currently, however, there is a backlash against reengineering as the pendulum swings to reconsider the human side of process.
In promoting their wares to executives, the "witch doctors" may say their snake oil is a cure all. However, the record of management experience is less than persuasive. First, management is still very much an art, and both greed and fear play a part in the practice of this art. Second, rigorous scientific theory does not appear to drive management practice. Instead, practicing managers often feel their way in the dark, through trial and error application of the many theories. Third, there is the historical pull between people and task. Can the wide pendulum swings possibly become slow and gentle shifts? Perhaps the classical writers have words of wisdom for the manager of the new century: advice on how to practice the art, reduce the error, and slow down the pendulum.
Classical Management Thought
Reading the original work of early management pioneers -- Taylor, Fayol, Follett, Urwick, Barnard, and others -- can be a refreshing counterpoint counterpoint, in music, the art of combining melodies each of which is independent though forming part of a homogeneous texture. The term derives from the Latin for "point against point," meaning note against note in referring to the notation of plainsong. to what is sometimes attributed to them by subsequent writers. The admonition Any formal verbal statement made during a trial by a judge to advise and caution the jury on their duty as jurors, on the admissibility or nonadmissibility of evidence, or on the purpose for which any evidence admitted may be considered by them. of Professor Chuck Wrege (1995) for students of management history to focus on the original source, not someone's interpretation of the original, is well founded, as interpretations often reflect the objectives and interests of the investigator. Reading classical management theory and hearing the original message is somewhat like examining an old Master's painting -- copied interpretations show the excellence of the work, but only the original is a masterpiece.
While any attempt to summarize classical theory is far beyond the scope of this analysis, the work of two renowned figures in management history -- Lyndall Urwick Lyndall Fownes Urwick (March 3, 1891-December 5, 1983) was an influential business consultant and thinker in the United Kingdom. He is recognized for integrating the ideas of earlier theorists like Henri Fayol into a comprehensive theory of administration. and Mary Parker Follett -- was selected to illustrate the relevance of early contributions to today's professional executive. Although the choice of any two figures as reference points is highly subjective and exposes one to charges of arbitrariness, these pioneers represent two very important, but strongly contrasting, themes on the essence of management. Urwick's work in the analysis and synthesis of the writings of several early management luminaries focused on the organization and administrative areas of the classical movement. In contrast, Follett's contributions addressed the human and social nature of man in a variety of work settings and anticipated the behavioral bonanza in management research and literature.
Urwick was selected because of his rare breadth and depth of personal experience as a management scholar and practitioner. Lt. Colonel Urwick served in both World War I and II, helped organize and manage a major corporation, administered an institute for international business, and later chaired a management consulting Noun 1. management consulting - a service industry that provides advice to those in charge of running a business
service industry - an industry that provides services rather than tangible objects firm (Wren wren, small, plump perching songbird of the family Troglodytidae. There are about 60 wren species, and all except one are restricted to the New World. The plumage is usually brown or reddish above and white, gray, or buff, often streaked, below. , 1994). Focusing on the collection and consolidation of organizational concepts proposed by others, Urwick sought to provide guidance to managers through the formal elaboration of a set of administrative principles, a task-oriented approach. His 1944 treatise on his proposed principles of organization -- Elements of Administration -- drew heavily from the work of Fayol, Mooney and Reiley, Taylor, Graicunus, and even Follett, and will serve as the basis for relating his ideas to the challenges facing today's manager.
In contrast, Mary Parker Follett offered a distinctly different view of management theory, one that focused on the integration of the individual and the organization. Although Follett's work fell chronologically in the scientific management period, Wren (1994) saw Follett as providing the bridge to the human relations movement Human Relations Movement refers to those researchers of organizational development who study the behavior of people in groups, in particular workplace groups. It originated in the 1920s' Hawthorne studies, which examined the effects of social relations, motivation and employee . Her work reflects consideration of the needs and interests of workers and managers as their efforts interact in the organization. Her experience was more philosophical and idealistic i·de·al·is·tic
Of, relating to, or having the nature of an idealist or idealism.
ide·al·is and often raised the issue of employee self-development to the same level as organizational productivity. Although she never managed an organization, Follett's ideas were innovative for her time and far reaching in impact. As discussed below, some of today's more popular management concepts have their roots in Follett's theories. Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett (Fox & Urwick, 1973) will be the basis for relating her writings to managers of today.
Lyndall F. Urwick
Even a cursory cur·so·ry
Performed with haste and scant attention to detail: a cursory glance at the headlines.
[Late Latin curs reading of Urwick's work highlights his universalistic perspective. In the Elements of Administration, Urwick (1944) sets out his vision of the principles of organization. Twenty-nine principles are defined and diagrammed in an interlocking interlocking /in·ter·lock·ing/ (-lok´ing) closely joined, as by hooks or dovetails; locking into one another.
interlocking Obstetrics A rare complication of vaginal delivery of twins; the 1st pyramid structure, creatively displaying their interrelationships. In his concluding paragraph, Urwick acknowledged that the principles were not perfect, but insisted that they are a "far better guide to the effective integration of human effort than personalities or politics" (p. 118). A glance at the principles -- specialization, span of control, determinative functionalism functionalism, in art and architecture
functionalism, in art and architecture, an aesthetic doctrine developed in the early 20th cent. out of Louis Henry Sullivan's aphorism that form ever follows function. , centralization cen·tral·ize
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.
2. , discipline, command, control, utility, etc., might indicate that there is little of value here for today's manager who is struggling with empowerment, synergy, and learning organizations. A closer look will, however, reveal that perhaps times were not so different in 1944. In discussing the 1940's administrator, Urwick stated "there is a widespread sense of frustration, abundant evidence of waste and countless instances of muddle Muddle - Original name of MDL. and misunderstanding" (p. 13). Urwick's answer to this "muddle" was for managers to improve administrative practice, and he thought improvement could come only through starting with a set of ideas to develop clearer thinking about the nature and methodology of administration. Underlying Urwick's analysis are six themes which might prompt clearer thinking in the manager of 2000 -- purpose, leadership, planning, teams, training, and an embryonic form of reengineering.
Purpose. The importance of the organization's purpose or mission is a common theme in most classical and modern management theory, although there is a great deal of disagreement on what that purpose should be. Urwick contended that the business's "true objective" should be the production of its product or service to meet community needs. First, Urwick's comments reflected a concern that the organization's purpose be consistent with the interest of the group as a whole, not just certain individuals within that group. In addition, the purpose should also be consistent with the interest of the larger group to which the organization belongs. Second, in response to the contention that profit is a purpose, Urwick said that profit could no more be the objective of a business than "eating is the objective of living." Instead, he saw profit as a stimulus to those who participate in the business and as a measurement tool. Third, the purpose must be clear, since only when a clear purpose is defined can the manager ensu re that individual interests such as greed, ambition, and personal power do not interfere with the general interests. Fourth, the purpose must not only be communicated, but it must also be felt and absorbed by every organizational member. Unless everyone knows the purpose, Urwick maintained that there can be no collective harmony and no "unity of doctrine" that translates itself to a "unity of spirit." A year-2000 seminar on mission statements could not have said it any better. Urwick's exhortation to managers to seek employee commitment, rather than just compliance, is echoed in contemporary management efforts to meet the challenges of global competition. His emphasis on the unity of organization members in producing goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. desired by consumers lies at the heart of the modern TQM movement.
Leadership. Urwick felt that the foundation of good leadership was fair play and that a key element in fair play was how fairly leaders treated each other. In this vein he quoted from Mooney and Reiley:
One of the dangers involved in the growth of any industrial organization is the struggle and lust for power that appear among the leaders themselves with the consequent loss of fine discipline and the subordination of the ambitions of the men at the top to the good of the group (1931, p. 34).
This theme of the leader as a role model is carried throughout Urwick's work. If a leader allows the purpose of the organization to become competitive and self-serving, Urwick asked, how can the leader expect any more of the employees than to also be competitive with each other and self-serving in their wage demands?
The man who can focus and thereby magnify mag·ni·fy
To increase the apparent size of, especially with a lens. the wills of all associated with him is a leader. He interprets the purposes of a great undertaking in terms which reach the understanding and inspire the enthusiasm of all ranks ... He becomes the fulcrum fulcrum: see lever. which gives leverage to the collective will" (Urwick, 1944, p. 88-89).
Urwick felt that leadership had to strike a balance among the individual personal interests of all those involved in the fortunes of the business. In these writings we also see Urwick's recognition of the value of the "modern" style of transformational leadership as distinguished from the traditional transactional leadership.
Teams. Although Urwick's comments were directed at "committees," the underlying notions seem to apply to today's team-based management. Urwick indicated that committees had "structural peculiarities" and were prone to "psychological weaknesses" (pp. 71-72). The weaknesses were that they could encourage irresponsibility among members, what we today term "social loafing An editor has expressed concern that this article or section is .
Please help improve the article by adding information and sources on neglected viewpoints, or by summarizing and ," and that they were a very expensive form of administration, something to which any team-based company can attest To solemnly declare verbally or in writing that a particular document or testimony about an event is a true and accurate representation of the facts; to bear witness to. To formally certify by a signature that the signer has been present at the execution of a particular writing so as . Committees could, however, assist in "unification of outlook." To do so they had to realize that "compromise is not enough" (p. 73). Urwick felt that compromise indicated loss: "Collective enthusiasm for a policy is impossible where those who have to carry it out start with a sense of loss" (p. 73).
Planning. Urwick stated the planner's dilemma so well that it defies rewording re·word
tr.v. re·word·ed, re·word·ing, re·words
a. To change the wording of.
b. To state or express again in different words.
The problem which faces everyone who must make a plan -- to wring wring
v. wrung , wring·ing, wrings
1. To twist, squeeze, or compress, especially so as to extract liquid. Often used with out.
2. the maximum advantage possible from standardization standardization
In industry, the development and application of standards that make it possible to manufacture a large volume of interchangeable parts. Standardization may focus on engineering standards, such as properties of materials, fits and tolerances, and drafting and simplification and at the same time to retain always the full measure of flexibility postulated pos·tu·late
tr.v. pos·tu·lat·ed, pos·tu·lat·ing, pos·tu·lates
1. To make claim for; demand.
2. To assume or assert the truth, reality, or necessity of, especially as a basis of an argument.
3. by the circumstances (p. 31).
Urwick saw planning as an intellectual exercise, a discipline to do things in an orderly fashion, thinking before taking action and relying on facts, not guesses. Three principles that he used to define the planning process have relevance for the modem manager beyond the realm of planning -- investigation, appropriateness, and order.
Although Urwick used investigation as a foundation to forecasting, this principle could be an admonition to today's manager about evaluating the wares of the management consultant, such as the credentials of the gurus and the success rate of proposed practices. Also, the appropriateness of the technique to the organization's purpose, the interests of the involved parties, and the organization's current status are extremely important in evaluating modem theory. Order should also be a key element in the manager's arsenal. If a new theory or technique is to be implemented, there should be a sense of order to its introduction, implementation, and evaluation. Investigation, appropriateness, and order provide a simple framework for the manager's evaluation of any proposed theory, technique, or program prior to its acceptance.
Training. Urwick wisely noted that too much attention is given to the training of the rank and file and not enough attention to the leadership. One of the key reasons to train leaders is the same today as it was in 1944, not to learn new "tricks," but simply to develop a "similarly of outlook essential to true cooperation" (p. 70), akin to management thinking today about the values of a common, supportive corporate culture.
Reengineering. Long before Hammer and Champy's popular work (1993) was introduced, Urwick spoke to the notion of reengineering when he reflected that human institutions, not unlike machines, needed to be "run in," noting that "human institutions need decarbonizing from time to time. There is a deposit of habit, or current practice, which checks efficiency if the cylinders are not cleaned out and the valves ground in" (p. 96). Further, they may even come to need complete "reboring." Like many managers today, Urwick clearly recognized the challenges to organizational change and development in observing that human institutions, unlike their machine counterparts, develop a "great deal of internal resistance to these necessary processes" (p. 96).
In concluding Urwick's advice to managers, one final admonition probably outdistances all the rest: "the raw material in which administration works is human beings -- human beings with hopes and passions, loves and hates, fears and the divine courage of the spirit: a mixture much like the administrator" (p. 117-118).
* Mary Parker Follett
Mary Follett was a true renaissance woman Renaissance woman
A woman who has broad intellectual interests and is accomplished in areas of both the arts and the sciences. -- a political philosopher, a Boston scholar, an admirer of social psychology, and what some have termed a management prophet (Graham, 1995). Her writings were as varied as her interests. She wrote about national politics, group dynamics group dynamics: see group psychotherapy. , the importance of the situation, conflict resolution, and management. Fox and Urwick stated that her "most distinctive talent was a rare ability to draw other people into cooperative dialogue and, having done so, to appreciate the other person's experience almost as if it were her own" (1973, p. ix). Although she never ran a business, she was able to use her talent to keenly observe and condense con·dense
v. con·densed, con·dens·ing, con·dens·es
1. To reduce the volume or compass of.
2. To make more concise; abridge or shorten.
a. the experiences of the business leaders of the age into relevant and still timely expressions of management thought. Unlike Urwick, who promulgated prom·ul·gate
tr.v. prom·ul·gat·ed, prom·ul·gat·ing, prom·ul·gates
1. To make known (a decree, for example) by public declaration; announce officially. See Synonyms at announce.
2. principles of organization and presented a formal, structured view of management, Mary Parker Follett was a philosopher. Her work represents reflections of management thought. She was selected fo r this analysis because she is known as a visionary "who swam against the current of her day" (Samuel, 1996, p. 867). Key themes for today's manager found in Follett's work include dynamism, empowerment, participation, leadership, conflict, and experience.
Dynamism. Follett rejected the static analysis of organizations. She viewed the organization as a complex of dynamic social relations influenced by reciprocal reactions: "When we think we have solved a problem, well, by the very process of solving, new elements or forces come into the situation and you have a new problem on your hand to be solved" (Urwick, 1944 quoting Follett, p. 102). Follett looked at interactions as circular, not linear. Every action on the part of an individual caused a reaction from some alternate point and the reaction was affecting the action at the same time it was occurring. Stated differently, managers cannot separate themselves from the situations they are addressing, and, at the same instant that they are addressing a problem, the situation is changing. This perception resulted in Follett's advocacy of "the law of the situation," which states that one person should not give orders to another person, but both should agree to take their orders from the requirements of the situatio n. Follett maintained that analysis of the particular aspects and issues of each situation should guide management action, not mere reliance on the person "in authority." In her view, to ignore the uniqueness and dynamic nature of the situation was to court disaster.
Empowerment. "No word is used more carelessly by us all than the word power," Follett observed (Metcalf & Urwick, 1942, p. 96). Follett defined two types of power. "Power-over" was the coercive power, and "power-with" was the co-active, jointly developed power. She felt that power was actually a self-developed capacity and not a "pre-existing thing" to be handed out or taken away from someone. Given this definition, she did not believe that power could be delegated, but rather the manager could give employees opportunities to grow or develop their power -- power that would come through establishing effective relationships with others and demonstrating a stake in the enterprise. Consistent with Follett's statement, today's concept of empowerment is in reality an authorization of employees to develop their power in the workplace.
Participation. Follett viewed participation as the coordination of the contributions of each individual. Coordination requires clear communication, openness and explicitness, and is based on understanding. Also, Follett expressed her concern that participation should not represent self-sacrifice but instead reflect self-contribution. She felt that the organization could achieve participation through "daily management which recognizes and acts on the principle of participation and by a method of dealing with diverse contributions of men very different in temperament and training" (Metcalf & Urwick, p. 213). Thus, she saw participation as not just a bringing together of all the parts, but also an organization of the parts into a working unit. Follett's recognition of the value and contributions of participation are quite similar to those that underpin management's current interest in the benefits of valuing diversity and the use of teams.
Leadership. In her work on leadership, Follett made a rather sharp distinction between theory and practice. She indicated that leadership theory views the leader as the individual who can get orders obeyed, while, in practice, the leader is the person who can show that the orders are demanded by the situation. The leader is "one who sees another picture not yet actualized ac·tu·al·ize
v. ac·tu·al·ized, ac·tu·al·iz·ing, ac·tu·al·iz·es
1. To realize in action or make real: "More flexible life patterns could . . . . He sees the things which belong in his present picture but which are not yet there" (Fox & Urwick, p. 244). The leader has the responsibility of clearly defining the organization's purpose, and it must not be his purpose, but rather a common purpose born of the group. Follett also noted that successful leaders recognize and take advantage of the power and leadership that exist throughout the company. Thus, Follett's concept of leadership, de-emphasizing the "command" dimension, meshes well with the modern concept of the leader as one who can communicate the "shared vision" and inspires others to innovate and change to achieve new goals.
Conflict. Follett is perhaps best known for her in-depth analysis of conflict situations. She felt that conflict was neither good nor bad; it was merely a reflection of differences between people. In her view, differences could be solved through domination, compromise, or integration. Since no one wants to be dominated and compromise only results in a sense of loss, Follett saw integration as the only possible solution to conflict. Through integration, differences could become tools to unite parties and reach a solution that meets the desires of all parties with no one having to sacrifice. While integration is not always possible, she felt it should always be the goal. Although Follett's ideas on conflict may seem rather idyllic i·dyl·lic
1. Of or having the nature of an idyll.
2. Simple and carefree: an idyllic vacation in a seashore cottage. notions in the current context of global competition, her ideal undergirds contemporary thinking in management efforts to promote creative conflict resolution.
Experience. Since most of Follett's research involved interviewing business managers, she felt profound respect for experience: "We should make use of all available present experience, knowing that experience and our learning from it should be equally continuous matters" (Fox & Urwick, p. 99). Follett thought that managers should share experiences and proactively experiment, comparing and discussing conclusions with each other. She advised professional managers to practice their methods so that they would become habits. She quoted from one executive whose comments appear to be lifted from the 1990s. In discussing how his managers are trained, he said that his firm has done more preaching than providing opportunities for practice: "We've given them a lecture on piano playing piano playing Neurology A fanciful descriptor for finger movements linked to the loss of position sensation, in which the Pt seeks to discover finger position in space by periodic movement; PP occurs in Dejerine-Sottas syndrome; PP also refers to intermittent and then put them on the concert stage" (p. 102). Follett concluded that no training is more important than the training of executives and that men must prepare themselves as seriously for the responsibilities of management as they would for any other profession.
In concluding this analysis of Mary Follett, one other illustration of the contemporary nature of her thinking must be noted. In the heavily attended seminars of management guru Stephen Covey cov·ey
n. pl. cov·eys
1. A family or small flock of birds, especially partridge or quail. See Synonyms at flock1.
2. A small group, as of persons. , author of the best seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and consultant to presidents and Fortune 500 CEOs, Covey uses a story concerning a disagreement about an open window to illustrate the win/win approach to conflict resolution. One person wanted the window open to improve ventilation, and the other wanted it shut to keep the wind from blowing in. The two ultimately achieved an integration of interests, rather than a compromise, by agreeing to open the window in the adjoining room. The original story, an event that actually happened to Follett in the Harvard University Library The Harvard University Library system comprises about 90 libraries, with more than 15 million volumes. It is the oldest library system in the United States and the largest academic library system in the world. , is reported in her essay on constructive conflict (Fox & Urwick, 1973, p. 3). (One may be reminded of King Solomon's lament, "There is no new thing under the sun" [Proverbs Proverbs, book of the Bible. It is a collection of sayings, many of them moral maxims, in no special order. The teaching is of a practical nature; it does not dwell on the salvation-historical traditions of Israel, but is individual and universal based on the 1:9]).
Current Management Theory: Connections to the Past
This small window into the thoughts of two classical writers does, perhaps, shed some light on the problems faced by contemporary executives. Managers may actually be no more muddled mud·dle
v. mud·dled, mud·dling, mud·dles
1. To make turbid or muddy.
2. To mix confusedly; jumble.
3. To confuse or befuddle (the mind), as with alcohol. and frustrated frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: in 2000 than they were in the 1940s. Many of the same issues that confounded management practitioners 50 years ago are as important to managers today -- organizational mission, vision, leadership, empowerment, participation, teamwork, reengineering, organizational change, etc. Although certainly some of the terminology has changed, the underlying concepts are very similar.
This leads to the overarching o·ver·arch·ing
1. Forming an arch overhead or above: overarching branches.
2. Extending over or throughout: "I am not sure whether the missing ingredient . . . question -- if management has been dealing with the same issues for so long, then why are there not more solutions? Perhaps part of the answer lies in the implications of Mary Parker Follett's "dynamism." Management intrinsically deals with humans and social interaction; therefore, no situation is static; the milieu mi·lieu
n. pl. mi·lieus or mi·lieux
1. The totality of one's surroundings; an environment.
2. The social setting of a mental patient.
[Fr.] surroundings, environment. is active and in constant evolution. A management technique that appears to be the right answer in this moment might not be the appropriate response an hour later when decision premises have shifted. The same phenomenon also occurs at the macro level as the organization interacts with its environment, causing continual alteration of the mosaic of threats to and opportunities for the firm. Thus, answers to management puzzles, once discovered, are only transient.
The frustration of executives seeking solutions to their management problems can also be related to the nature of their quest. Managers must deal with a myriad of challenging issues that continuously confront them in a dynamic and complex environment. They must address specific problems in particular organizational contexts and be performance- and outcome-oriented. From this perspective, it is not surprising that harried executives are receptive to appeals of management consultants -- whether sages or charlatans -- who champion solutions promising to lighten light·en 1
v. light·ened, light·en·ing, light·ens
a. To make light or lighter; illuminate or brighten.
b. To make (a color) lighter.
2. their burdens.
In addition, management evaluation systems that emphasize short-term outcomes reinforce Peters and Waterman's "bias for action" and the search for the "quick fix." In this setting, it is not surprising that the purported cure of the management healer healer Mainstream medicine A romantic synonym for physician. See Traditional healing. is not subject to a deliberate, systematic assessment of its appropriateness for the specific organizational culture This article or section is written like an .
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using . . The pressure on managers to find something that "works" in the situation can overwhelm the cautious rationality of executives to find something that "fits." As a consequence, if the implementation of the technique is judged unsuccessful, management expectations are unfulfilled, the program is abandoned, and the quest for another remedy begins -- perhaps the pursuit of a new guru. Furthermore, when an appropriate management intervention is adopted, the payoff may still be long term. As the organization works through problems of implementation and integration, extending the period for realizing a payback Payback
The length of time it takes to recover the initial cost of a project, without regard to the time value of money. , managers with a short-term focus might be u nable or unwilling to stay the course.
What, then, can be gleaned from this examination of the contributions of Urwick and Follett that applies to the problems of the management professional today? Can we discover and identify universal management principles, or does this analysis support the contention that management is little more than a conglomeration of contradictory fads? Perhaps Koontz (1962) was right and the problem is, at least in part, semantic: what is meant by the term "principles"? If managers look to these classics for precise specifications of relationships and outcomes among formally defined variables, as is customary in the physical sciences, then they will likely be disappointed. The laws of science The laws of science are various established scientific laws, or physical laws as they are sometimes called, that are considered universal and invariable facts of the physical world. Laws of science may, however, be disproved if new facts or evidence arise to contradict them. may direct many things, but the "cussedness cuss·ed
1. Perverse; stubborn.
cussed·ly adv. of human nature" does not appear to be one. The lack of absolutes and the absence of right answers offend "true" science and are what lures practicing managers into the witch doctor's lair (but are also the challenge that attracts many to the field!).
How can management practitioners respond to this seemingly insurmountable challenge? In her review of The Witch Doctors, Eileen Shapiro contended that "striving for management theory to attain the status of a serious intellectual discipline unfettered by internal contradictions is an honorable goal." Nevertheless, she goes on to say that "more important by far" is "aiming for an economy in which managers are willing to make decisions without the benefit of complete information or coherent theory -- and are able to learn from the results." Conceivably, then, the work of Follett, Urwick, and other classical writers gives us neither universal principles nor the foundation for contradictory fads. Instead, early management thought is filled with guideposts Guideposts is a Christian-faith based non-profit organization founded in 1945 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale. The Guideposts organization is headquartered in Carmel, New York, with additional offices in New York City, Chesterton, Indiana, and Pawling, , buoys for direction, common threads of organizational knowledge, and many precepts of administration that offer guidance and direction to contemporary managers who can apply this distillation distillation, process used to separate the substances composing a mixture. It involves a change of state, as of liquid to gas, and subsequent condensation. The process was probably first used in the production of intoxicating beverages. of experience in the context of current times. Arguably ar·gu·a·ble
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.
2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law. , this is why classical management theorist the·o·rist
One who theorizes; a theoretician.
a person who forms theories or who specializes in the theory of a particular subject.
See also: Ideas, Learning
Noun 1. Henry Fayol described his administrative principles as "lighthouses."
Management is not an exact science, but rather is a mix of art, scientific methodology, intuition, investigation, and, most of all, experimentation. If the management principles described by Urwick and Follett may be more accurately characterized as "useful generalizations" rather than "immutable IMMUTABLE. What cannot be removed, what is unchangeable. The laws of God being perfect, are immutable, but no human law can be so considered. laws," the professional managers will still be well served by knowledge of the contributions of the classicists who earlier studied many of the problems puzzling managers today. As Barbara Lawrence has sagely observed, through the study of management history one can gain historical perspective which has as its purpose "to sharpen our vision of the present, not the past" (1984, p. 307). From reflection on the classical works, perhaps today's managers can be guided in how to critically analyze and evaluate the often contradictory recommendations of the current witch doctors and work out their own approaches, their own adaptations, and their own successes.
Dr. Miller, who previously served as Associate Dean of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics, focuses on general management, management history, human resource management, and case research and writing. Beverly Vaughn is a doctoral candidate who was president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of a privately-held group of corporations. Her professional interests include human resource management, organizational behavior, and management training and development.
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New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Simon & Schuster Simon & Schuster
U.S. publishing company. It was founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon (1899–1960) and M. Lincoln Schuster (1897–1970), whose initial project, the original crossword-puzzle book, was a best-seller. .
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In the investing world, a totally new way of doing things that has a huge effect on business.
The word "paradigm" is defined as a pattern or model, and it has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework. organizations: From total quality to learning to world-class. Organizational Dynamics, 5-19.
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Samuel, S. (1996). Book Review of Mary Parker Follett -- Prophet of management: A celebration of writings from the 1920's. Academy of Management Journal, 21: 863-867.
Shapiro, E. (1997, March-April). Managing in the age of gurus. Harvard Business Review Harvard Business Review is a general management magazine published since 1922 by Harvard Business School Publishing, owned by the Harvard Business School. A monthly research-based magazine written for business practitioners, it claims a high ranking business readership and , 142.
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Wren, D. A. (1994). The evolution of management thought (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley John Wiley may refer to: