Printer Friendly

The challenge to today's managers.


Surely the central task of management and the key to success in fulfilling your newly regained liberties is to develop this country's extraordinary human capital so as to allow fulfillment of each individual's potential.

The development of managers is a continuing process and it is the central concern of the World Management Council as well as of the newly liberated democracies of Central Europe. In this regard I have two main observations to make.

It is in the invention of a new interplay between politically derived societal objectives and their achievement through private enterprises that Central Europe has the extraordinary opportunity to show the way for all of us.

In the age of Tomas Masaryk and Herbert Hoover scientific management attempted to apply the discipline of science to the process of management and to view management as a profession. Moving as they were from the de novo position in which managers, as opposed to entrepreneurs, began to emerge in the latter part of the Industrial Revolution, they were inventing the very idea of management.

In the years since the mid 1920's, we have seen refinement of the techniques and increased use of technology and science. We have moved from the era of scientific management through management science to today's new and still evolving phase. Yet in my experience, far too much of our formal management training still concentrates on techniques and technology. We should have learned by now that techniques are sterile unless applied in a sociopolitical environment that rewards management innovation and provides the support of feedback from the customers - the society.

The degree to which market forces are brought to bear in a society's activities is the role of private capital; the rule and nature of law; individual freedom to innovate, to start an enterprise, or to move from one job to another - these and countless other characteristics of a society have everything to do with the effectiveness (or lack of it) of an administrator or manager - far more than the degree of sophistication of management tools or techniques used.

Just as management of a single organization involved what might be called "political" issues of mediation and compromise in fulfilling the multifaceted objectives of large organizations, so too at a societal level the political forces must be key in determining the priorities of a society. It is when the political forces begin to affect the way in which individual organizations achieve these objectives that problems arise.

For me, at least, the proper role of the public sector is to set an incentive/disincentive structure; and the proper role of the private sector is to operate within that structure. When this balance is achieved, it allows the efficient production of the goods, services and environment that the society wants and allows the fullest possible interplay of individual freedom to innovate in the ways those objectives are achieved.

Technology has always presented us with the opportunity of pursuing both good and evil. But often technology has inadvertently produced inhuman debasement and misery while striving for an ultimate good such as higher productivity.

Today we increasingly possess technologies which allow imaginative managers to enhance the individuality, essential human desires and needs of all who work in both public and private organizations. It is my thesis that one of management's obligations is to find new ways to achieve this goal.

I refer to the technology-based ability that we now possess to depart from the kind of mass production that characterized the thinking predominant in the '20s. Today we can achieve high productivity manufacturing in small lot sizes, in individually-paced rather than machine-paced production units. This is ideally suited to an economy such as that which exists in Czechoslovakia.

In addition, the ability to accommodate human work patterns by the imaginative use of communication and information-based technologies is extraordinary. My daughter, for example, works in one city and lives in another - commuting electronically. Working at one's own pace, time and location are no longer a dream - if management is willing to take the trouble, and has the, imagination to so use the technology now at its command. Multiple career channels of part-time or extra full-time work become possible. Management has more work, but those who participate will attract the best people to work with their organizations. I believe this to be one of the great challenges to management in the years ahead.

Never have greater opportunities for more people depended upon human imagination, compassion and determination. The process of education, continuing training and development of managers equal to the task is a formidable undertaking. The cardinal objective is to bring the world's best management practitioners and theoreticians to join in this process, and today our focus is on Central Europe.

John Diebold is Chairman and founder of The Diebold Group, Inc. established in 1954, management counsel to major corporations, to over 100 cities, most states, and several foreign governments. He and his firm have been influential during much of the past 36 years in shaping the growth of the computer and communications revolution.

He has been decorated by the governments of Germany, Italy and Jordan, and has been awarded the Legion of Honor by the government of France. He has also been the recipient of numerous professional awards.

"The Innovators", his most recent book, was published by E.P. Dutton early in 1990.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Canadian Institute of Management
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:new ways of using technology to accommodate individuality
Author:Diebold, John Theurer
Publication:Canadian Manager
Date:Dec 22, 1990
Previous Article:The role of the North American Management Council (NAMCO).
Next Article:Marketing trends and changes.

Related Articles
Corporate business needs drive facilities management.
Gig-E is here, and it's here to stay.
Culture captivates tourists. (Aboriginal Business).
American Express.
2004 Architecture & Design Awards: "advice from the experts".
The Cunning Little Vixen: the Pacific Opera Victoria production.
Getting commitment from black managers: study shows corporations fail at retaining minority employees.
Managing the millennials: high performance and high maintenance, generation Y requires a different type of management.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters