Definition of ManagementManagement is the attainment of organisational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organising, leading and controlling organisational resources (Samson & Daft, 2009, p. 12).
In essence, the final outcome of management is to achieve organisation goals and managers in various levels should achieve goals effectively and efficiently by intelligently utilizing financial, human and other resources in hand. The four skills which may assist managers to achieve these organisational goals are planning, organising, leading and controlling.
Traditional vs. Modern PerspectivesThe practice of management can go back as far as 3000 BC. It developed over thousands of years from Traditional style of management to Modern today. Traditional PerspectivesTraditional Perspectives includes (Samson & Daft, 2009):1.Classical Perspectives – concentrates on making the organisations an efficient operating machine. 2.Humanistic Perspectives – emphases understanding human behaviour, needs and attitudes in the workplace. It has taken more consideration of behaviors, needs and attitudes as well as social interactions and group processes. *For the purpose of the report, I will not elaborate on each item mentioned above.
Use Human Resources Perspective as an example. It suggests that Jobs should be designed to meet higher-level needs by allowing workers to use their full potential (Samson & Daft, 2009). This theory was initially supported by a ‘dairy farm’ view and further illustrated by the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and McGregor Theory X & Theory Y.
It is my understanding that the theory suggests people generally perform better if they are given full rein to their imagination and creativity. This, in details, means: 1.People are given freedom to fulfill their desired physiological, safety, love/belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization (Maslow’s Hierarchy) needs and wants.
They may not be satisfied with all five of them, but fulfillment in any of the above may somewhat increase productivity; 2.Management assumes that employees enjoy working and will seek responsibilities under working/learning process and does not believe in punishment to keep the employees in line. Instead, it believes that employees will exercise self-control if they’re committed (McGregor’s Theory Y).
Toyota Motor Corporation is one of the world leading automobile producers and its philosophy is the famous ‘Toyota Way’. The two pillars are ‘Wisdom and Kaizen (improvement)’ and ‘respect for human nature’ (Saruta 2006). Without going into the full description of ‘Toyota Way’ philosophy, we will mainly discuss one component as an example: Improvement.
The company motivates employees through a series of incentives, such as wage, on-job education, and progressive promotion. Hence it presents work as something interesting and worthwhile for worker’s self-motivation. In the Japanese operation, this philosophy helped the company achieved long working hours and concentrated labour.
Unfortunately it hasn’t been working as successful in other countries. Does this mean the employees in other countries haven’t fulfilled any of their interests? Managers must understand that employees will be motivated by unmet needs; and that once a need is satisfied, it is no longer a motivator (Fisher 2009). There may be environmental factors the management did not consider.
Cultural difference for instance may affect the effectiveness of this philosophy. Being in a country with a generous welfare system like Australia, people’s desire for a balanced work/social life style is much stronger than financial achievement. In this instance, Toyota management in other counties should realise the differences in worker’s needs and present other incentives accordingly.
Modern PerspectivesModern Management Trend is developed to collaborate with the more complicated technologies, organisational environment and unforeseeable uncertainties in today’s world. Modern Management Theories are focused on how individuals contribute to organisation and corporate performance while the performance
of the chief executive is dictated by the organisation’s financial returns and shareholders’ expectations (Weymes 2004).
The three major contemporary extensions of the perspectives (Samson & Daft, 2009): 1.System Theory;2.Contingency View;
3.Total Quality Management.*For the purpose of the report, I will not elaborate on each item mentioned above.
Use Contingency View as an example. This theory is an extension of the humanistic perspective in which the successful resolution of organisational problems is thought to depend on management’s identification of key variables in the situation at hand (Samson & Daft, 2009). It believes there is no universal approach that works consistently in every situation. Management should always consider aspects within and outside the organisation and utilise various concepts and techniques appropriately.
Looking at this theory from a horizontal angle, Knootz (1981) has simplified it into ordinary words, ‘there is science and there is art, there is knowledge and there is practice. One does not need much experience to understand that a corner grocery store could hardly be organised like General Motors, or that the technical realities of petroleum exploration, production, and refining make impracticable autonomously organised product divisions for gasoline, jet fuel, or lubricating oils’. Different organisations have different variables which determine the size of the company, the management hierarchy, the service procedure and so forth.
Looking at it from a vertical angle, an organisation may have diversified subsystems and external affiliates. Today’s managers cannot afford to ignore the uncertainties evolved around these elements. Grandori (1984) noted a decision maker needs to classify the state of uncertainty that characterises a decision situation, eliminate the strategies that are not feasible in that situation, and select a feasible strategy.
To realise the contingency approach its potential as an effective construct for maintaining and improving managerial effectiveness in a hyper dynamic environment, its development must proceed in a systematic unified and directed manner (Luthans & Stewart, 1977).
IKEA, as an example, is the world’s most successful mass-market retailer, reaching 33 countries and hosting 410 million shoppers a year; the furniture is made by about 1,500 suppliers in more than 50 countries. Its signature feature is the flat packed product that customers assemble at home. To target the dramatic technology development in 21st century, the company introduced online shopping to address convenience and traceability.
The company designs its own, and also broadens the product mix into food and general living supplies (“IKEA Company Profile”, n.d.). Investment risks can be sufficiently minimised, and it is best described by the old adage “never put all your eggs in one basket”.
Traditionally, a showroom with a team of salesmen and delivery truck drivers is the focal point of a typical furniture retailer. Globalisation and widely spread use of internet will eventually force them out of the market. IKEA tackled these issues from supply-chain, customer satisfaction and diversification of investment risks. It further demonstrates the contingency approach is used to sustain IKEA’s completive edge in all time. Although these strategies may not be suitable in 10 years time, contingency view will always exert management to evaluation situation at hand and make decision accordingly to sustain performance.
ConclusionGenerally speaking, the traditional perspectives of management tend to standardise a managerial approach across the board by analysing one particular scenario with a number of assumptions. However, the modern perspectives recognise the uncertainties in reality and take many aspects into consideration of their decision making process.
Contingency view is not a brand new theory that is completely different from the traditional perspectives. Whilst we are not suggesting the traditional perspectives are untrue, managers should be selective according to the situation at hand and use a combination of approaches to tackle from all angles.
Management in the modern world is no longer a unitary practice; it is an art. Continuous education and professional development can only offer the mandatory knowledge. Real life experience and rational conduct at time is the key to successful management.
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