Determining the Right Management Mindset for Today Competitiveness

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Traditional management is an area that is extremely difficult to delineate. Change is a permanent feature of human societies. Today, we are living in a confused transition period to a new age defined by global competition, uncontrolled change, faster flow of information and communication, increasing business complexity, and persistent globalization. The economic and political changes over the last century have led to rapidly changing contexts of management marking an entirely new era of business. This new environment is also characterized by "more far-reaching technological advances, and a consumer who has adjusted to this quicker pace and whose fickle preferences are revised with the speed of a television commercial." (Pasternack & Viscion, 1998).

According to Hanson, D., Dowling, P., Hitt, M.A., Ireland, R.D., and Hoskisson (2005) "The traditional management mindset cannot lead a firm to strategic competitiveness in the 21st Century landscape. Managers must adopt a new mindset, one that values flexibility, speed, innovation, integration and the capability to learn from constantly changing conditions. The purpose of this essay is to critically analyse the characteristics of the traditional mindset and the 21st century landscape to gain better understanding of their thought, and also to study and question the different approaches given to the issue by great strategists such as Igor Ansoff, Henry Minztberg, Michael Porter, and Jay Barney. The scope of this research is to determine if the traditional mindset is obsolete and intend to prove the hypothesis of strategic management for the 21st century as a mix of traditional and modern view instead of a complete transformation and discard of classic approaches.

The "Traditional Management Mindset" refers to the long-established idea about management as a top level hierarchy position, based in recognition, control, and authority, placing managers as self capable of analyze the internal and external business environment and form the needed management strategies focused on tasks performance which was plainly measured on budget spending. It is also characterized by not promoting collaboration and being reluctant to participate in different business activities or departments. Moreover, traditional functional thinking has also led to outdated management practices in the areas of goal setting and problem solving and it stifles innovation. (Kotelnikov and Spanyi, 2005). This mindset was initially adapted to an environment where change was slow rather than rapid and innovative. It helped to structured processes and promoted a sense of order and discipline. But its downside is that lacks of flexibility making the organizations unqualified to permanent external and internal changes. In other words, as expressed by Pasternack and Viscio, (1998) "This is not to say that the basics of traditional management should be ignored, but they are just not enough to get the job done any more".

More precisely, when studying 2 main exponents of more traditional management approaches, it is possible to detect the flaws for today's competitive and changing business environment. Igor Ansoff (1965) finds strategy as an operational course of action that enables decision-making selected for different threats, For Ansoff the base of strategy is created by a combination of product and market, chosen carefully to achieve the planned objectives, while the main goals are only return on investment and growth, leaving aside effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Then the basic problem of Ansoffs' view is that it pretends that management will have always control and rationality when changing situations. Similarly Michael Porter was the first to bring structural elements borrowed from industrial economics to the centre of the strategic management studies (Ahonen, 2004). Porter's ‘five forces model' , ‘Generic Strategies' and value chain are helpful to describe an industry structure, but didn't considered...
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