Describe the key developments in management thinking and practice in the modern era. Discuss and analyse the roles, responsibilities, skills and qualities that are demanded of managers in the 21st century. Explain what you see as the single most important challenge likely to face managers in the next 10 years. Illustrate your points with reference to organisations and situations with which you are familiar. Over the years, the workplace has been the recipient of huge change. Those who work in the workplace have had no choice but to change with the times.
A revelation of change has been seen in the world of management. Theories of management that have been passed down through the centuries have, in some cases, had to be re – thought to fit in with an increasingly changing world of business. One simple rule of management has remained. Managers must have a strategy set out and they must have a plan on how to execute the strategy. In the twenty first century, management is defined as The attainment of organisational goals in an effective and efficient manner through; Planning, Organising, leading and controlling of organisational resources.
In order to plan, managers must choose goals and decide on the ways the company will attain them. These goals may be set out in some way in company policy or in a mission statement, but a manager must be able to put these goals into practice in a local environment with customers and a personal environment with staff members. This is where management’s conceptual, human and technical skills come into play. Moving organisations from current to future changed states is not easy and requires skills and knowledge some managers do not possess.
The idea of Change or Die’ is evidence that leaders have recognised the need to change. Managers know that companies must be fast, flexible, responsive, resilient, and creative to survive. Most also know that current mind-sets, techniques, and tools are ineffective for creating such an organisation. These people are displaying the talents required to successfully negotiate change. They are aware of the limitations around or within themselves and are willing to learn the necessary skills required to succeed as change managers.
Change is the process of moving from one state to another. Just as moving house requires the massive packing of furniture and other items, change requires just as much preparations to be successful. Most people do not like change, they like things to remain the same. Changes require more effort to adapt. It threatens stability and security and people fear that they will not be able to cope. Resistance is the natural defence to such perceived threats. A good manager has to be able to work with and overcome resistance he/she must be able to control the whole process of change.
With this in mind, I have considered the role of the manager, what his/her function is and what skills are required to enable him/her to be a successful change manager in a constantly developing area of business. Function of Managers Fayol (1908) identified the functions of the manager as: 1. Setting objectives 2. Organisation 3. Motivation 4. Control or measurement 5. Co-ordination These functions are as true today as they were then, but I consider communication as the key to them. It is the essential function in successful change management.
Drucker (1977 in Stewart 1986) also makes the important addition of, the development of people. ‘ Each of the functions can be seen as essential to managing emergent or planned change, however it is the balance of skills and knowledge combined that produce a successful change manager. With these points in mind we then consider organisations and their nature. Organisations – their nature and culture. Organisations are living social organisms, each with its own culture, character, nature, and identity.
Every organisation has its own history of success, which reinforces and strengthens the organisation’s way of doing things. The older and more successful the organisation, the stronger its culture, its nature, its identity becomes. Determining where an organisation has been, where it is currently, and where it is primarily poised to go next is critically important before any change is attempted. Indeed, what managers must do is discover the unique patterns and processes – and then work to influence them in a manner that helps the organisation to help itself function more efficiently and effectively.
The pattern of dynamic relationships at the organisation level is culture, which explains why organisational culture is so powerful. So powerful, in fact, that its impact supersedes all other factors when it comes to organisational change (Kotter & Heskett, 1992 in Schneider 1997). Collins and Porras (1994 in Clegg et al 1996) showed that it is strikingly evident that organisational culture lies at the centre of what differentiates visionary companies from comparison companies (and significantly greater economic performance over the long-term).
Culture, how we do things around here in order to succeed (Schneider, 1994, 1997), is an organisation’s way, identity, pattern of dynamic relationships, reality. It has everything to do with implementation and how success is actually achieved. No management idea, no matter how good, will work in practice or implementation if it does not fit the culture. Therefore managers have to consider how they can make the culture fit the plan. They do this by acknowledging which type of culture they are in, and then choosing which skills and knowledge they require to fit’ the circumstances.
Leaders create one of four core cultures, consciously and/or unconsciously, from their own personal history, nature, socialisation experiences, and perception of what it takes to succeed in their marketplace. (Schneider 1997) Each of the four core cultures emerges from the following; Control: militaristic system; power motives. Organisation archetypes: Competence: Collaboration: family and/or team system; affiliation motives Cultivation: growth system(s); self-targeting system; achievement motives actualisation motives.
There is a strong connection between strategy, culture, and leadership. The techniques that worked in the past simply will not work now. In order to survive in the 21st century, companies will be forced by the ever-evolving marketplace to shift to a creativity/differentiated orientation. This poses a significant challenge for many managers. Most people in positions of leadership today gained their success through their mastery of traditional management techniques and approaches.
The transformation of their organisations will carry with it profound changes in how they will have to lead. In the mechanistic command-and-control culture, hierarchy and clear lines of authority are the load-bearing structures that keep the company intact. Consequently, the fate of any change rests on the shoulders of a few key people. They are expected to select a winning strategy, develop detailed operating plans, direct the activities of subordinates, be more intelligent than anyone else, know more than anyone else, and leap tall buildings in a single bound.
It impossible for change to succeed this way, these expectations are an impossible burden. Organisation, the load-bearing structure is the system’s ability to self-organise. The role of managers then, shifts to activities that promote the richest possible environment for changes to occur. A strong, well-understood core ideology is vital to change. It is through shared beliefs and intentions that people are able to act autonomously and remain in accord with the wholethus drastically reducing the need for external controls.
Bureaucratic organisations typically ignore this area and experience resistance that can be completely out of proportion with proposed changes. Bureaucracies establish order through external controls and rigid structures, so they perceive little need for and have little interest in the organising power of shared purpose and principles. Managers of change must now be able to contribute their change or enrich the culture – skills and knowledge in the following areas: They must utilise their employees so that they are able to operate with few rules and still create productive, purposeful results.
It is through the organising power of a strong culture that change will be achieved successfully. This is the biggest challenge to managers in the next ten years because the world of business is becoming even more uncertain. The new manager must actively nurture and expand the organisation’s culture, developing alignment – Managers must use their perspective to create this alignment around the achievement of promoting understanding.
People in organisations work in many different contexts, and leaders need to find the language that speaks to people ensuring the flow of where they are, both physically and psychologically. Managers are essential in obtaining accurate and useful information and feedback from the organisation where the change is taking place. They reflect the performance of the change, so individuals and groups can self-correct to bring their efforts into accord with the goals.
Leaders in modern organisations help people to hold and use this anxiety by putting it into its proper perspective as the energising spark for creative action. As stated earlier I feel that communication is the most important skill that a manager should possess, and when considered in junction with the functions listed above, it can be seen as the lynch pin of the entire framework. Communication To emphasis the importance of communication I have considered the abilities of important figures in society, both past and present, and the changes that they wrought.
The Roman Empire was so successful because of its communications. It conquered the world by opening channels of communication that were unheard of in their efficiency until that period. A good manager has to be able to work with and overcome this resistance; he/she must be able to control the whole process of change. In order to do this they have to utilise and balance all of their knowledge and skills, whether they are traditional, modern, or most likely a mixture of the two.
The different cultures that comprise organisations mean that there is no one prescriptive approach for successful change management, rather managers have to be aware of the present situation and have the ability to see the transition to the future proposed state. Therefore it is most likely for an all rounder’ to precipitate successful change. This will be someone who has the ability to perform all of the key management functions as listed earlier as well as being able to diagnose, adapt and communicate.