Gods of Management

Topics: Management, Culture, Greek mythology Pages: 4 (1456 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Organisational Leadership
Mattersey Hall

Gods Of Management
Charles Handy, in “Gods of Management”, attempts to classify four distinct management cultures that exist within all organizations. He uses the ancient Greek gods to symbolize these management cultures or philosophies. There are four types of management cultures or philosophies present within all organizations. The four cultures are the club (Zeus), role (Apollo), task (Athena), and existential (Dionysus) cultures. The first culture Handy discusses is the club or Zeus culture. He uses a spider web to represent the club culture. “[T]he lines radiating out from the centre” represent “divisions of work based on functions or products” (Handy p14). The most important lines however “are the encircling [lines], the ones that surround the spider in the middle, for these are the lines of power and influence, losing importance as they go farther from the centre. The relationship with the spider matters more in this culture than does any formal title or position description” (Handy p14). Handy also maintains that this type of culture is excellent for “speed of decisions” (Handy p15). However, because of its speed, quality is dependent upon Zeus and his inner circle. This results in an emphasis being placed upon the selection and succession of Zeus. The club culture achieves its speed through empathy. This in turn leads to very little documentation within the organization and face-to-face meetings between Zeus and his subordinates or contacts. Furthermore, this culture is dependent upon networks of “friendships, old boys, and comrades” (Handy p16). Because of the high level of trust, this type of organization is cheap to operate. The only costs incurred in this type of organization are those of phone and travel expenses. In essence, these types of organizations value the individual, give him or her free rein, and reward their efforts. The second type of culture that Handy discusses is the role or Apollo...

Bibliography: Charles Handy, Gods of Management: The changing work of organizations, Oxford University
Press, 1995
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