Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Management, The future of

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The Future of Management


“Is management dead?” This was the question poised by Steve Kerr, chief learning officer at General Electric’s Management Development Institute. (Stewart) He asked this question because five years ago it seamed that all a company needed was a good idea or product. Dot-Com companies worried mostly about getting their product recognized and used by the public. They rarely had a strong strategic plan, vision, or mission statement. They just presented their product to the masses and waited to be bought out by a larger corporation hungry for the newest idea. Well, that concept is over. With the stock market now favoring well established, well run companies over the dot-com new idea companies, management has been brought to the forefront of each business again. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the future of management including emerging management concepts and trends. I will also differentiate between management and leadership. What caused management to get pushed back on the agenda of companies anyway? Technology has.


Technology has affected every aspect of business. We are now able to communicate via telephone, wireless communication, fax, and e-mail. It is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than methods that were previously used by management in business even as close as 10 years ago. Due to technology, it takes fewer people to remain productive than in the past. This has caused a decrease in the number of managers needed by business. According to Kevin McManus, author of the article, “The Future of Management,” as information for decision-making becomes more available, management will not be relied on as much. Businesses have begun to decentralize many business decisions and have empowered their front line employees to make these decisions. This has helped to increase customer satisfaction and lower the strain placed on front end and middle managers. Does that again point towards the death of management? No. It just means that management has had to evolve.


Management now places less importance on the control of employees’ work processes and more importance in providing employees the tools they need to get the job done. For example, let us look at the auto industry. In the past, an employee was trained how to run a machine that makes and attaches a bumper on a car. The manager watched over the employee to make sure he was completing his part of the process correctly and efficiently. Today’s manager would be concerned with the employee’s “buy in” on the company’s mission statement. He would ensure that the employee would have the proper computer training needed to run several different points in the assembly process and he would include the employee in discussions that may make the overall process better for the company or the employee.


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Since companies today need fewer managers they are looking for the best they can get. They prefer generally older, experienced managers with a proven track record but this is causing a problem. There is a generation gap forming between BC (before computer) managers and AC (after computer) managers. The generation gap can also be between managers and employees. Managers that are expected to monitor how well an employee can manage the information at his control no longer know this side of the business. They are often trained how to do daily work processes by the employee they are in charge of. This is a trend in management business is working on. They are quickly sending managers back to training to get them up to date, Internet savvy, and computer literate.


What is another problem facing management today? Uncertainty. Terrorist acts; war, strikes, and the uncertainty of financial markets have brought about another change in management. Businesses today are seeking managers that can handle stress and adapt to change well. In the past, management focused on minimizing variation of work processes to reduce error. According to Stewart, things are different today.


Uncertainty challenges management to become one of the humanities. Companies will not succeed if people cannot improvise, ad lib, make do, and override procedures. Nor will they survive if they are control. Becoming both resilient and consistent will take more than decentralization or programs to empower people. It will require new thinking about how to design organizations, compensate employees, and link suppliers and customers; new technologies to support those connections; and good, old-fashioned commitment to the belief that management can make a profound difference in the lives of people and the fortunes of the places they work.


The final trend in management I will discuss is the trend towards leadership management. To understand this concept let us define leadership. According to Dressler’s text, Management Theory, Practice, and Application, leadership is defined as influencing others to work willingly toward achieving objectives. This is a dry definition that does not encompass everything that produces the leadership trait and it should not be confused with the concept of managing. Managing is more concerned with using control mechanisms to complete a task or work process. This was fine when work most involved mechanical tasks. In today’s business work, workers have to have the ability to process large volumes of information, make decisions, and use those decisions to build relationships with their customers. This is why so many companies today look for leadership traits in their managers. Leaders have the ability to motivate, inspire, mentor, challenge, and think long term when dealing with people. They have a strong desire to achieve and the ability to remain optimistic even when they fail. They commonly display the same personal characteristics of self-confidence, persuasiveness, honesty and integrity. Finding out what makes a person “tick” is high on a leader’s agenda because he invests time and effort into people that have the talents or skills needed to complete a task.


In conclusion, we have discussed the future of management and some of the emerging trends of management. We have also differentiated management and leadership. All of these concepts and trends have helped us to understand that management is not dead just evolving.


Works Cited


Dessler, Gary. Management Theory, Practice and Application. Boston Pearson, 00.


McManus, Kevin. “The Future of Management.” IE Industrial Engineer 5 VII (Jul00) 0.


Stewart, Thomas A. “Is Management Possible.” Business .0. ( Oct 00)





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