Laurie J. Mullins argues that
A fist step in the effective management of other people is confidence in your own ability, and awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses. Why is it then that managers find it difficult to admit their mistakes, to say sorry or to laugh at themselves?1
In the building society case study, there are examples of bad managerial behaviour on the part of both Mary Rodgers, the branch manager and Jane Taylor, the senior branch assistant. Jane Taylor was clearly good at her job if, after four years, she was promoted to this new role, yet within a short period of time, she was having trouble with Tony Jackson. Looking back at what Mullins said, Miss Taylor doesn't appear to have confidence in her own ability or indeed awareness in her own strengths and weaknesses. According to Thompson & McHugh "control is not an end in itself, but a means to transform the capacity to work established by the wage relation into profitable production", and Jane is unable to control her sub-ordinate - what are the reasons for this?
Part of the problem stems from the beginning of the case study and the relationship between Jane and her manager. Mary Rogers does not instil any confidence in Jane when she effectively 'dumps' this new role. Up until now, Jane has been performing specific task functions and has no real knowledge of how to manage people as she has previously been performing the duties of a cashier and looking after mortgage advice accounts - more task orientated skills rather than managerial ones. The refresher course she attends includes nothing on this either and Jane immediately falls into what McGregor calls the 'Theory X' assumption of human nature. The central principle of 'Theory X' is direction and control through a centralised system of organisation and exercise of authority2 and Jane automatically tries to coerce and direct...