Managers Should Stick to Leading and Directing. Facilitation Has No Place in Management

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„Managers should stick to leading and directing. Facilitation has no place in management.”

Is facilitation really not needed and wanted in management? In the following pages I will discuss the validity of this statement with its pros and cons.

Historical evolution of management thought

If we go back in history we are shown how managers became what they are now. They use basically the same techniques and have the same principles managers from decades back had already.

Management and leadership have always played a role in very old institutions for instance the church and the army. Leadership qualities such as leading others, being composed, confident and resilient were and are typical for those institutions. Furthermore those leaders lead by example, communicate with their subordinates but in a strictly defined hierarchy, are strongly focused on strategy and winning, can concentrate on a target and no matter what want to accomplish their mission. But are those “leaders” what you’d now call managers? “Modern management is business management, and pre-industrial state craft and war strategy simply provide a narrow view of the management function as something worthy of kings, princes, and emperors or, in the case of war, generals.” Of course there were bankers, merchants and trading establishments as well but they were not a significant aspect of society. If we don’t consider pre-industrial “leaders” managers then where did everything start? Let’s look at what impact the industrial revolution had:

Until the industrial revolution began in 1750 organizations and companies were normally small and simply structured. With the industrial revolution starting, machines replaced manpower and productions became highly specialized and therefore organizations became bigger and bigger. With the invention of the steam engine and its development process the iron production rose from 12 tons per furnace to 40 tons per furnace. This increased productivity made available a large supply of iron at low cost, and led to new uses for iron: bridges, ships, and other machines. All this needed managing on a high level to plan, organize, direct and control the distribution of iron.

As said already, management grew more complex due to industrializing and the human factor becoming more important the managerial function had to change as well.

The development of the management has been influenced by the following amongst other things:

The negative demographic developments such as a decline in the birth rates, higher life expectancy and obsolescence have influenced the development of management as well as the rural exodus.

Furthermore technologies have made an amazingly fast development. What used to be face-to-face communication between business associates and employees is now screen-to-screen communication. But new technologies have not only influenced the communication. New manufacturing systems, new distribution- and marketing systems have influenced management as well.

The value change in society has made an impact too. People want to be more and more recognized as individual persons. There are also less governmental social fallbacks and not to forget that the people’s working and leisure behaviour has changed as well.

Intercultural aspects of management

Every person grows up under different cultural circumstances. By doing that he or she gets to know the socially relevant experiences that are necessary for ones life in a society.

Of course there are similarities in the same culture. Fellow men from the same culture have due to their socialisation a similar perception and behaviour. Because of that, living together is relatively easy and free of trouble.

As easy as what mentioned above is, as hard is the same in intercultural situations where accustomed standards, values, emotions, conscious- and unconscious behaviours meet, for instance to get a solution or negotiate a contract....
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