Management for Professional Studies
These notes are intended to provide a basic starting point for those who wish to know something about management or are studying for examinations held by various professional bodies. The notes will also provide basic underpinning knowledge for those seeking NVQ qualifications in Management.
The intention of the notes is that they provoke and support your reading and thinking on management. The subject matter of management is considerable. We can only indicate some of the main ideas on the various topics. Examination success comes through understanding a range of theoretical aspects of each section and developing the ability to analyse each section with experiences and examples from your own organisations.
Included at the end of the text are various questions for you to reflect on and to participate in during group discussions.
It must be emphasised that these are notes on general topics of what is commonly termed management. They are complementary to the textbooks or study manuals available for your course of study. I suggest Charles Handy "Understanding Organisations" published by Penguin as a text book. You can use these notes as a guide, Handy as a source for further information, and as your interest develops you may want to the Internet for information of management ideas.
You should understand that our objective is to show how leadership, groups, culture and motivation are all interlinked and further developed through strategy. We start by looking at the organisation - what is it and how it develops. Then we can look at the constituents parts, leadership, motivation, groups, culture and politics before examining the role of change in the organisation. We can then try to pull all of these together in some form of strategic approach and our developing concept of how the organisations learns.
As students, you will have to learn about the various management theories. These are the basis for our ongoing study. Only then can we begin to unpackage the theories and attempt to make sense of the art (or science) of management. You will quickly appreciate that writers on management have been trying to make sense out of the subject for many years. This becomes clear when we examine leadership. Until the early 1980s writers on management tried to develop an all embracing theory of management [traits]. The problem was that almost immediately someone would write a paper that showed the flaws in that theory. We then set about approaching the development of theory from a different angle [styles]. In the 1980s a number of writers such as Peters and Waterman and many others began to approach the understanding of what leadership is by abandoning the all embracing theory approach and concentrating on developing an understanding of what leadership and good management is.
In recent years we have also seen the developing, or attempts at developing an understanding of how strategy works, as well as coming to grips with change, politics at work and the concept of the learning organisation.
Our main topics of study will be strategy, leadership, motivation, groups, culture, change, impression management and the concept of the learning organisation. A sound knowledge of these will also provide a starting platform in your study of the management and professional administration papers in the professional part of the ICSA examinations.
I can be contacted by e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact me for advise, help and you can e mail me your developing draft of your assignments.
[You need only a outline knowledge of this topic. The outline will provide a mental framework for your continuing study]
This section sets out to consider the purpose of the organisation and its structure. It then examines some of the determinants of the structure. Later we consider the development of organisational structures in a hypothetical organisation and conclude with some personal constructs of the writer on the reality of organisations in the modern world.
Purpose of organisation and its structure
It is important for us to appreciate the purpose of the organisation and its structure. Child (1984) said that the structure existed to ensure :
the allocation of responsibilities, the grouping of functions, decision making, co-ordination, control and reward.
Peter Drucker in the Harvard Business Review January - February 1974 p 52 said that the :
structure is a means for attaining the objectives and goals of the organization.
The British writers Pugh and Hickson (1968 pp 374-396) state the organisational structure makes :
provision for continuing activities directed towards the achievement of aims. (Ensures) regularities in activities such as task allocation, supervision and co-ordination are developed.
Pugh and Hickson make clear that the organisation is more than a simple structure. It is a living thing. This is why writers such as Jay Lorsch, John Child and others have divided organisational levers into
basic and operational factors.
Kelly and Kelly in "What They really Teach You at The Harvard Business School" inform us that Harvard Business School Organisational Behaviour course students are always aware that there are two elements to formulating any plan for achieving organisational change:
1 we must have a clear objective and
2 we must understand the dynamics of the current environment
It is up to the manager to put into place formal organisational structures and operating systems, and to use the culture and office politics to advantage in order to meet the corporate strategy objectives and the managers personal objectives. Therefore by determining structural elements and establishing an interpersonal style, the manager is in a position to communicate the objectives of the organisation, to employees in such a manner that the employee knows how they can contribute and be rewarded.
Action levers, which are techniques managers have at their disposal in order to influence the behaviour of others. These levers can be divided into two areas:
Operating System Levers: * job design, * performance evaluation, * incentives and rewards, * recruiting requirements and systems, * control systems, * measurement system and Interpersonal levers:
* management style,
* communication style and * conflict resolution style.
Other factors that interest us include :
mechanistic and organic structures tall / flat hierarchies i.e. the pyramid : downsizing, de-layering etc. line and staff relations span of control
The case for the organic approach to structural change is well put by Peter Drucker in "The Coming of the New Organization" Harvard Business Review January - February 1988 pp 45-53. According to Drucker the traditional organisation pyramid is doomed because :
1 Rapid and unexpected change 2 Increasing diversity 3 Change in managerial behaviour 4 Adoption of new technology
However, the mechanistic approach and its predominance of the pyramid has its supporters. J Hoerr in " Business Shares the Blame for Workers' Low Skills" Business Week June 25 1990 felt that the pyramid would continue for the following reasons :
1 Future lies in the large organisation 2 Employers like pyramids 3 Employees like pyramids 4 Information technology aspect is oversold.
[Later, we shall consider the views of Jan Carlzon and the concept of the inverted organisation structure. Hoerr's views have, I believe, been proven right in the 1990s]
Buchanan D and Huczynski A (1991) in Organizational Behaviour, Prentice Hall have some very interesting and informative diagrams on pages 379-380 which examines the police hierarchical pyramid and on page 386 take a light hearted yet serious look at national organisational structures.
Determinants of structure :
The determinants are :
a) size, i.e. the effect and requirements of large, medium and small organisations on systems and procedures, group inter-relationships, co-ordination and control systems, efficiency of outputs of products or services and employee attitudes
b) technology, such as socio-technical systems and micro-electronics. Note the work of Charles Handy and John Child in this area.
c) historical background, i.e. the impact of the past on the present functioning of the organisations in terms of ownership, control, motivation of employees, culture and flexibility to change.
d) geographic dispersion and its influence over control and co-ordination mechanisms
e) external environment, i.e. current market situation, competitor(s)' behaviour and national and world political and economic environment
f) employee attitudes i.e. people's response to changes within and outside the organisation, over- or under-manning, crisis management and the manner in which interpersonal relationships are conducted
g) management information systems, i.e. the way in which information is processed and distributed in the organisation.
Hypothetical Development of an Organisation
This exercise demonstrates what happens to the structure of a hypothetical business as the company responds to the opportunities for expansion and growth.
We start with a small one man business, producing a single, lets assume a high tech type product and employing 15 people.
Initially, the owner knows everyone and the company structure is simple and informal.
The high tech business is booming and on the road to success. Increased sales means new staff. The consequence of this is that our one man business is changing its shape and structure.
The company takes on additional specialist staff. It appoints a Marketing /Sales Manager and a Finance Manager. In addition, the day to day production is now looked after by a Production Manager, rather than by the owner.
At this stage the structure of the business shows considerable change. It may look something like this :
Managing Director Marketing Production Finance Foreman etc.
Our Functional organisation is now taking on a distinct line appearance, with the specialist posts and the line responsibilities of the foremen etc. We may also see staff relationships develop. The structure will have adopted various financial and procedural rules and controls which will continue to develop and usually multiply in number. The organisation may become environmentally aware. It most certainly is aware of external affairs due to its growth. We are seeing the evolution of a very complex organisation.
Our Managing Director finds himself more and more occupied with strategic planning, whilst the new financial man is busy devising various financial controls.
Our successful company is expanding by product and geographically. New products and locations appear. The consequence is that our structure begins to take on a product function look. This is especially so when the products are totally different. An example is domestic and trust banking.
A product structure often moves to a Divisional Structure. The company should be going through the pros and cons of centralisation as against decentralisation.
Soon our company structure could be looking like this.
Main Board of Directors Subsidiary Companies
Notice that our hypothetical company may well have acquired a geographical division. We are likely to see traditional lines of authority being challenged and more delegation taking place.
The Divisional structure leads to more sophisticated controls from the service functions as well as the setting up of profit centres. The Divisions are acquiring significant autonomy.
The style of the Managing Director may have changed from autocratic to participative, and we should see the style of management move towards the right side of Tannenbaum and Schmidt's Continuum of Management Styles.
In a highly complex industry, our company could also see the development of project teams using a matrix type structure.
The structure will at various times be subject to the moans and groans of communication problems, conflicts both vertical and horizontal. Writers such as Peters and Waterman "In Search of Excellence" see the organisation structure as a potential danger in that it does not reflect what goes on in the organisation. The organisation structure chart shows what management thinks is going on. It is about the formal, is almost certainly out of date and fails to consider the mass range of informal communication and other channels that actually exist in the organisation.
Returning to our business, the organisational structure is developing a substantially different form from the simple informal structure that existed in the early days. In the Divisional structure there can exist a diverse combination of functional, product, divisional, geographic and matrix structures. The permutations are endless.
The important point is that the organisation structure is, or should be constantly adapting to the needs of the business. There is some degree of doubt about whether it meets this objective. However it may be a case that something is better than nothing.
Organisational structures in reality
The more bureaucratic the organisation the more it is likely to love organisation charts. Often such organisations are mechanistic in approach. Education is an example. When change does occur it is frequently piecemeal and does not succeed. Perhaps environmental aspects help prevent it achieving its objectives. The more dynamic organisations such as our high tech company will frequently be able to adopt an organic type of approach. Often the organisation chart, if there is one; is of little consequence. Informality, co-operation are keywords. Some organisations such as advertising and research laboratories adopt the team approach and use a matrix type organisation structure.
What we do know of organisational structures is that they are complex. What we may not fully appreciate is the danger an unswerving loyalty to the organisation chart may present to the organisation. Perhaps the reality of the organisation is more important than the myth of the organisation structure.
Having looked at structures and the evolution of a business we can now tackle the main part of the course.
A good starting base is any good American text on management. One such book is Management by Koontz and Weihrich published by McGraw Hill. The early chapters of Koontz and Weihrich show the diversity of views and theories on management. The first two chapters of Koontz and Weihrich are well worth a skim read just to see the sheer scope of what constitutes management theory.
Many books on management see management as having a variety of functions such as planning, organising, motivating, controlling and co-ordinating. This traditional or classical approach allows us to describe the management function but it does have a serious practical drawback. The problem is that the theory does not tell us what managers do, nor does it tell us anything of the 'untidy' nature of management. Therefore we must skim read some of the theories on the scientific school of writer such as FW Taylor, the approach of Elton Mayo and the human relations school etc.
In order to fully appreciate the organic, human nature of management we need to look at the meaning of terms such as motivation and leadership. After this we can look at concepts such as strategic policy before dealing with a number of revision questions.
What makes people work. What drives them. The environment in which the student works is important. The problem is that motivation is too common a word. Teachers and others use it each and every day of their working lives. Robbins (1993 p 185) states that motivation is the willingness to exert high levels of effort towards a specified goal. Whilst Peters and Waterman (1982) provides us a more basic definition of making everyone a winner, this definition also requires the organiser of tasks to encourage effort. Factors necessary to encourage such effort will include mentally challenging work, equitable rewards, supportative working conditions, supportative colleagues and recognition. Most teachers and their colleagues in industry see motivation as the hierarchical, stepping stone structure of Maslow (1954) where we have a simple psychological model that describes how on satisfying one basic need we are then motivated to tackle the higher need.
This approach of Maslow is to provide a simple, psychological theory that has been used to introduce us to the concept of motivation and the ambitious nature of people. It is however just that - an introduction.
McClelland (1961) developed Maslowšs work and stressed the importance of the higher value needs such as affiliation, power and achievement. McClelland was at pains to point out that whilst some people have all these needs the strength of the needs even in the individual will vary considerably at different times and in different environments.
It is only when we consider the theory of motivation put forward by Herzberg (1964) that the study of motivation becomes of any real practical value to the organisational behaviourist and the teacher. Herzberg's two factor theory states that we can distinguish in any given work situation factors that are satisfiers (motivators) and dissatisfiers (hygiene). A closer examination of some of the Herzberg's motivating factors such as achievement are needed.
Task : How does Herzberg's theory of motivation apply to you, both in your social and work lives?
The works of Maslow and Herzberg have been subject to much criticism on grounds of both methodology and of content. If we realise that both are simple indicators of what can contribute to the motivation of the individual then both approaches have value to the provider of education.
The importance of feedback in the motivational process is seen in the work of Ilgen and Knowlton (1980) who present us with empirical evidence of the working and need for motivation. In this work students acted as supervisors : one worker in each group being a deliberate under or over performer.
On feedback it was noted that :
ratings were higher when the supervisor was aware that feedback was direct with worker
where performance was due to lack of motivation : feedback accurate
where performance was due to lack of ability : feedback not accurate
In further studies Ilgen et al (1981) stated that feedback should be regular, not annual and that supervisors should improve their knowledge of subordinates' perceptions. Feedback works if it is understood and regarded formally by the recipient. Feedback is needed even if the feedback is negative. The work of Ilgen and colleagues can just as easily be applied to the educational experience especially if we equate motivation with encouragement, interest in the student and a caring environment.
Task : Can you relate how the views of Ilgen etc. will apply to the appraisal process in your organisation
See also article on the Internet that makes an in depth study of feedback is by Kathleen Brinko entitled 'The Practice of Giving Feedback to Improve Teaching What Is Effective?' A version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, 16-20 April 1990.The article is in the Journal of Higher Education Vol.14 Sept/Oct 1993
Handy (1985) puts motivation into perspective when he states that the hygiene factors of Herzberg deal only with the question "Why work here", only the motivators deal with "why work harder" (Handy (1985 p 36) The importance of Herzberg 's work is that the theory stresses the motivational value of the work itself, the importance of esteem, feedback on performance and recognition and advancement. It helps us to see what factors will encourage effort. The approach of Herzberg provides a sound foundation for the practical application of motivation theory in business and in education.
Alderfer (1969) made a major contribution to the study of motivation with ERG theory. Put simply, this theory saw three groups of core needs : existence, relatedness and growth, hence the term ERG theory. Alderfer built on the work of Maslow by stressing the organic nature of need. We may experience more than one need at a time and can experience the recurrence of previously satisfied needs, something not recognised by Maslow.
A logical development of motivation theory was the expectancy approach associated with Vroom (1964) and others. Expectancy theory tried to explain why individuals choose one particular behaviour pattern from many such available patterns.
Expectancy theory tells us that the strength of a desire to act in a certain way depends on the strength of the expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. The three variables in expectancy theory are : attractiveness (needs of the individual) performance reward link and effort performance link.
Robbins (1993 p 227) provides a simplified expectancy model :
Such a theory relies on the quantity and quality of feedback. In educational terms student effort is the individual effort which the student puts into the task. This performance leads to the expectation of good work, which is itself based on the expectation of reward in the form of a good mark or grade and appropriate feedback. All these are determined by the individual's desire to achieve a stated goal or objective.
Another approach to motivation and one familiar, at least in name, is reinforcement theory. Koontz and Weihrich (1988 p 422) offer a helpful explanation of the theory. This approach emphasises the removal of obstructions to performance, careful planning and organising and communication. The information to help us overcome the obstacles to motivation needs input from those we want to motivate - the student. Although reinforcement theory has been criticised for its apparent simplicity it has the substantial advantage of being a practical approach that creates a positive environment for learning.
Some writers on motivation stress the goal setting theory of motivation. This cognitive approach requires the objective to be specific rather than general. To this end Locke (1968) saw a positive correlation between the setting of specific rather than general targets as well as being challenging and requiring feedback. Such an approach suggested by Locke together with the practical strategies of Brophy (1987) appear to be most appropriate to the situations many educators experience in their daily work.
Robbins considers the impact of participation in the setting of motivational targets and concludes that evidence is mixed regarding the superiority of participation over assigned goals (Robbins 1989 p 162). Once again, this approach can provide some help to the educator.
Attribution theory, claimed Peters and Waterman, was an important factor in organisational life. Rogers (1982) showed how attribution theory could be applied to schools. Amongst the points made by Rogers were :
a) Success is accepted as being due to our own effort whilst failure is frequently ascribed to factors outside onešs control (i.e. being unfair) b) The unusual is ascribed to fortune, good or bad - the poor student will see a good performance as being due to good luck - the bad student will see a bad performance as due to bad luck. c) Rogers felt that teachers reinforce the luck theory of the individual student d) Students use coping strategies to mark ability (i.e. I didnšt try) (Rogers (1982) in Handy 1985 p 267)
Another problem related to attribution and reinforcement theories of motivation is that of stereotyping or labelling. Tyson and Jackson well demonstrate the danger of labelling someone as a good performer.
The danger is that we look for behaviours in an individual which say that person is a good performer. These behaviours are rewarded. The behaviour continues, the person performs well and the label has become a self fulfilling prophesy. (Tyson and Jackson 1993 p 37)
Tyson and Jackson go on to stress that "any criticism or praise should be undertaken keeping the four P's in mind...Personal, Proximate, Precise, Private" (Tyson and Jackson 1993 p 38) The four P's have significant influence on the ways we handle feedback. The empirical part of this study as well as the literature on motivation suggests that the practitioner has much to learn, or at best remember to put into practice) in regard to motivation.
For the teacher the importance of attribution theory lies in recognising the potency of the positive and negative aspects of the theory. It follows that careful use of attribution theory can be particularly beneficial in a learning situation. It also can be very dangerous in that it can so easily distract, by allowing us to develop comforting coping strategies, from the much deeper and more involved process of motivation.
Returning to reinforcement theory Peters and Waterman were surprised at the amount of positive reinforcement they saw in companies. :
The systems in excellent companies are not only designed to produce lots of winners; they were constructed to celebrate the winning once it occurs. (Peters and Waterman 1982 p 58)
What interested Peters and Waterman was that the excellent companies not only knew about positive reinforcement, but more importantly knew how to manage it. They are adept at creating a positive environment :
As Skinner notes, the way the reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount. First it ought to be specific...second the reinforcement should have immediacy...third, the system of feedback mechanisms should take account of achieveability...and we must note the fourth characteristic of the feedback comes in a form of an intangible but ever so meaningful attention from top management. (Peters and Waterman 1982 p 70 -71)
One theory of motivation that requires consideration is the equity theory associated with Adams (1965). What Adams suggests is that we make comparisons as to the value equity in the form of our inputs and outputs, and the inputs and outputs of others, plays in motivation. This theory has attracted much attention from writers such as Greenberg (1988) who suggests that when we perceive an inequity we can adopt a number of approaches to deal with that perceived or real inequity. We may change our inputs, change our outcomes or simply withdraw. .
Power of Motivation Theories
Theory Productivity Satisfaction
Needs 3 2
Characteristic 3 4
Goal setting 5
Equity 3 2
Adapted from : Landy F and Becker W (1987) 'Motivation Theory Reconsidered" in Cummings L and Staw B (eds) Research in Organizational Behavior Vol 9 Greenwich CT. JAI Press p33
Having established that motivation is a complex matter we now can examine leadership. The theories and views may at first tend to overwhelm the student. However, they are indicative of the attempts to develop a theory of leadership or a theory of management that embraced everything.
Theories of Leadership
Leadership is a dynamic process at work in a group whereby one individual influences the other group members to commit themselves to the achievement of group tasks or goals.
The earliest studies of the leader were those carried out by people such as F W Taylor and Henri Fayol.
The reader should note that writers on leadership have succeeded in achieving very little uniformity in reaching an agreed definition of leadership.
This lack of uniformity is well illustrated by John Adair in 1968. Adair showed some of the leadership qualities looked for in the US Marine Corps, The Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell.
These theories are generally known as Trait theories and revolved around what Weber termed Charisma.
Some of the better known Trait theories were those devised by Edwin Ghiselli who saw the traits required in a leader as :
Abilities : supervisory, intelligence and initiative
Personality : decisive, self assured, ability to direct/lead, maturity, and an affinity with the workers.
Motivation : need for occupational advance, need for self actualisation, need for power and the need for security.
David McClelland researched the traits of the managerial achiever. The managerial achiever displayed the following leadership traits :
wants more responsibility
wants moderate to difficult feedback
wants clear feedback on performance
is usually prepared to take risks
is usually a perfectionist
is usually in a hurry, and is often unsociable.
McClelland states that traits will vary depending on what has already been achieved.
The trait theories and the charismatic leader has fallen out of fashion, because of the difficulty identifying a precise set of traits that a leader should possess.
However, the writings of Tom Peters and others in the excellence school suggest that there may yet be some life in the trait theories, as it is now accepted that we are describing a phenomena rather than making a precise definition of the traits a leader ought to possess.
The Style theories of leadership developed after 1950. One of the earliest writers was Rensis Likert.
Likert believed that managers could be classified in the following categories ;
In the Michigan studies Likert and his researchers found that the supervisors of high producing groups tended to be employee centred in their approach. On the other hand, the leaders of the lowest producing groups tended to be task oriented.
Later in the 1950's the Ohio studies were a refinement to the Michigan studies.
In 1958 Tannenbaum and Schmidt published the now famous continuum of leadership styles.
The Ashridge Studies 1966 are of the tell, sell, consult or join style.
1960 saw Douglas McGregor publish his famous work " The Human Side of Enterprise" famous for the Theory X, Theory Y styles of leadership.
Another variation on the style theme is the work of Huneryager and Heckman in 1967. They identified four styles of leadership :
d) laissez faire
These styles bear a close relation to those of Likert, albeit the titles are different.
The late 1960's saw the work of Fred Fiedler and the so called Contingency school of leadership.
Contingency is a dynamic, constantly moving theory. It sees leadership as a relative process.
Fred Fiedler concluded that group performance was dependent upon the leader adopting the style which was appropriate to the situation. The style adopted would depend on three key factors :
1 leader / member relations
2 the degree of structure of the task and
3 the power and authority of the position
Fiedler found that these three variables could produce eight possible combination of situations.
The most favourable of these were :
a) where there were good leader member relations
b) where the task was highly structured
c) the leader had a strong position power
The least favourable situation was :
a) where the leader was disliked
b) the task was relatively unstructured
c) the leader had little position power.
Fiedler developed the idea of the psychologically distant manager and the psychologically close manager. Fiedler concluded that the psychologically distant manager was the more effective.
Task : Describe how Fiedler's approach might apply to management in your organisation.
John Adair produced the Functional or Action Centred Leadership theory in 1973. Adair saw three variables at work in the leadership situation. They are :
Task needs : which can include the objectives of the business and how these might be best achieved.
Group needs : such as team building, communication and motivation
Individual needs : such as power, status, affiliation, recognition and achievement
These were the tasks of management.
In a nutshell, Adair drew a distinction between an autocrat and leader. People will follow the autocrat, in a crisis, but at other times will resent and resist him.
Adair sees the leader as having four key skills :
guidance, and support
The adaptive nature of Adair's work means that it belongs to the Contingency school, and is often used as a device in management training due to its emphasis on skill development.
Task : Can you explain why Adair's work is often seen as a means of learning to lead?
In 1976 Charles Handy developed his environmental view of leadership. There were six aspects governing leadership. They were :
1 the power position of the leader
2 the relationship between the leader and the group
3 culture of the organisation
4 structure and technology of the organisation
5 the variety of tasks
6 the variety of the subordinates.
Leadership says Handy is the best fit between the leaders personal attributes and the other variables.
The Japanese have weighed in with a theory of leadership known as Theory Z This theory was designed as a development of McGregor's Theory X, Theory Y work. Theory Z was developed by W G Ouchi and is based on the belief that it is the spirit of co-operation, and the consensus approach to decision making that is the key to Japanese management success.
Leader or manager?
This has become a common question. It concentrates on the jobs of leader and manager. Are they the same or are they different. The issue is vital to the understanding of the organisation of the 1990s and new millennium. If we accept that change and the reaction to change is critical for the organisation perhaps this issue needs our attention.
Abraham Zaleznik of the Harvard Business School has concluded (1979, 1989) that the manager and leader are very different people. Zaleznik sees the manager as someone who motivates other people and administers resources to ensure that the company's objectives are attained.
Zaleznik sees the effective leader is involved in the conceptual aspects and the leader is active rather than reactive, shaping ideas rather than responding to them. John Kotter of the Harvard Business School has studied the nature of effective managers.
Visionary Executive admits he does not have a full diary. Whilst the non visionary has so many formal meetings etc. that he is unable to think the visionary manager spends considerable time walking about the organisation. The non visionary is desk bound.
the visionary talks of philosophy, concepts, development. The non visionary is too busy to talk about the philosophy of the business
the visionary positively motivates
the visionary discusses new ideas.
The non visionary does not have ideas.
John Kotter in" A Force for Change : How Leadership Differs From Management" This was reviewed in the Independent on Sunday 10 June 1990. The central thesis was that the modern leader needs to have three prerequisites :
1 he has to have a vision 2 he has to be able to line people up in the right direction 3 he has to be able to inspire
Kotter returns to the question of whether managers are born not made. He thinks it is partly true. he gives the following as attributes of potential to lead :
a) High drive / energy level
b) Above average intelligence / intellectual skills
c) stable mental / personal health
One in fifty people share all four skills. The clever company will not only learn how to recruit such people but also how to develop them.
According to Kotter, broad based learning assignments and use of in firm mentors are an essential to develop leaders. People must be encouraged to develop inter personal skills and the empathy needed to motivate others.
Techniques that will develop managers and not leaders include :
Assigning a long series of narrow and tactical jobs that fail to develop long term strategic skills, rapid promotions that normally serve to ensure that people are not around to learn from their mistakes, and rewards based on short term performance.
It is interesting to reflect on leadership theories in the light of what Kotter has to say. Do traits identify leaders and styles managers? Think about it.
Warren Bennis, famous for his work on groups, has latterly turned to writing on leadership.
"Manager are people who do things right. Leaders are people who do the right thing" is one of his quotes.
Task : Examine why writers such as Bennis, Kotter and Zaleznik see the function of manager and leader as being totally different.
The difference may be seen in the activities of vision and judgement - effectiveness v activities of mastering the routine - efficiency.
One of leaders who Bennis and Nanus have regard for is Sergiu Comissiona conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra.
When musicians were asked what he was like the answer was "terrific". When asked why , they replied "because he does not waste our time". To Bennis and Nanus this did not explain why Comissiona was a good leader.
However, when the writers saw Comissiona conduct they soon realised what the musicians saw in his leadership a clarity of purpose.
One book on management that impressed me is Carlzon J (1989) Moments of Truth : New Strategies for Today's Customer-Driven Economy New York Harper and Row
This is one of the easiest management texts to read and understand. From the first story of Rudy Peterson through to the confession of his initial management style being
I began to behave differently because I was acting the role I believed I had been given. I assumed that everyone at Vingresor expected me to be able to do everything better than they could, and that I should make all the decisions (Carlzon 1989 p 8)
This page is essential reading for all who wish to unlock the secret of leadership as it shows how Carlzon was brought to his senses and developed the empowering management style.
What Carlzon is especially famous for is his advocacy of the 'inverted organisation chart' It is simply the core of his management philosophy and the student who has read Deming, Juran or Wille on TQM will soon see that Carlzon's text is TQM in practice. The book is about leadership, empowerment, marketing, the customer. [There is a section on Total Quality Management (TQM) later in these notes]
At SAS, Carlzon found that the 'new' strategy of decentralising responsibility was difficult to inspire amongst middle management. The process for empowering employees was not without problems :
To motivate the front line and suggest their efforts requires skilled and
knowledgeable middle managers who are proficient at coaching, informing, criticizing, praising, educating and so forth. Their authority applies to the overall strategies into practical guidelines that the front line can follow and then mobilizing the necessary resources for the front line to achieve its objectives. This requires hard-nosed business planning along with healthy doses of creativity and resourcefulness. (Carlzon (1989 p 68)
Although Carlzon is talking of line management in the aviation industry, his analysis is applicable to all managers in service industry, even education.
Chapter 10 is called Measuring Results. Carlzon in an almost conventional TQM approach states the importance of measuring results. Nothing special about this. What is special is the insight Carlzon brings to the problems of measuring performance, and the ease with which we can measure the wrong criteria.
The final chapter in "Moments of Truth" is called The Second Wave. This is a chapter most readers will ignore. It is too their peril to ignore this chapter as it shows the danger of a company achieving objectives and failing to continue with new ongoing innovative thinking
[Later in these notes we look at John Kotter's 1995 views on change. It is worth thinking about Carlzon's comments on the second wave when reading Kotters views on successful change management]
A quote to remember:
"Treat people as adults. Treat them as partners; treat them with dignity; treat them with respect." (Peters and Waterman 1982 p 238)
Task : Provide examples from your practice that confirm Peter's contention that people should be treated as adults
Task : Provide three examples from your practice of instances where people have not been treated as adults. If you claim that you cannot do this task then you should write the definitive book on leadership and management.
One of the earliest attempts to study what managers actually do was by Henry Mintzberg. Mintzberg in 1973 was concerned that management theeory did not explain what managers actually did. Is research concluded that managers had a range of roles :
FigureheadThe manager, acting as a symbol or representative of the organization, performs diverse ceremonial duties. By attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, heading the local United Way drive, or representing the president of the firm at an awards banquet, a manager performs the figurehead role.
LeaderThe manager, interacting with subordinates, motivates and develops them. The supervisor who conducts quarterly performance or selects training opportunities for his or her subordinates performs the role of leader. This role emphasises the socioemotional and people-oriented side of leadership and de-emphasises task activities, which are more often incorporated into the decisional roles.
LiaisonThe manager establishes a network of contacts to gather information for the organization. Belonging to professional associations or meeting over lunch with peers in other organizations helps the manager perform the liaison role.
MonitorThe manager gathers information from the environment inside and outside the organization. He or she may attend meetings with subordinates, scan company publications, or participate in companywide committees as a way of performing this role.
DisseminatorThe manager transmits both factual and value information to subordinates. Managers may conduct staff meetings, send memoranda to their staff, or meet informally with them on a one-to-one basis to discuss current and future projects.
SpokespersonThe manager gives information to people outside the organization about its performance and policies. He or she oversees preparation of the annual report, prepares advertising copy, or speaks at community and professional meetings.
EntrepreneurThe manager designs and initiates change in the organization. The supervisor who redesigns the jobs of subordinates, introduces flexible working hours, or brings new technology to the job performs this role.
DisturbanceThe manager deals with problems that arise when organisational
Handleroperations break down. A person who finds a new supplier on short notice for an out-of-stock part, who replaces unexpectedly absent employees, or who deals with machine breakdown performs this role.
ResourcerThe manager controls the allocation of people, money, material and time or by scheduling his or her own time, programming subordinates' work effort, and authorising all significant decisions. Preparation of the budget is a major aspect of this role.
NegotiatorThe manager participates in negotiation activities. A manager who hires a new employee may negotiate work assignments or compensation with that person
From : H. Mintzberg, The Nature of A Manager's Work Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1979)
Task : How does Mintzberg's roles of management compare with what you see managers doing at your place of work?
Tom Peters and Robert Waterman Jnr wrote "In Search of Excellence" in 1982. The book still contains much that is of interest to the student. The chapters on leadership and motivation are excellent. Peters and Waterman stated that the rational approach to management and the attempt to provide a theory of management was not at all successful. Instead they looked at what made successful businesses work. What were they doing that others were not.
Amongst their conclusions were the Eight Attributes of Excellence
A bias for action-- a preference for doing something -- anything -- rather than sending a question through cycles and cycles of analyses and committee reports Staying close to the customer -- learning his preferences and catering to them Autonomy and entrepreneurship -- breaking the corporation into small companies and encouraging them to think independently and competitively Productivity through people -- creating in all employees the awareness that their best efforts are essential and they will share in the rewards of the company's success Hands-on, value driven - insisting that executive keep in touch with the firm's essential business Stick to the knitting - remaining with the business the company knows best Simple form, lean staff - few administrative layers, few people at the upper levels Simultaneous loose-tight properties - fostering a climate where there is dedication to the central values of the company combined with tolerance for all employees who accept those values.
For Peters and Waterman management needs to be concerned with :
Quality of the product Looking after the customer and Looking after employees.
Both Peters and Waterman have published books since In Search of Excellence. One is
Waterman R (1994) The Frontiers of Excellence : Learning From Companies That Put People First London Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd
The intent as seen in the early chapters "Learn from the best; find role models to emulate" (p 15) [We are seeing here evidence of the move towards learning from others and a move away from the general theory of management approach seen in traits, styles contingency etc]
Task : Can you see where traits play an important part in the description of good management aand leadership practices?
The purpose of the book is to examine the viewpoint of middle and line managers. There is a simple reason for this : Waterman feels that these are the people who know what is going on in a business.
Waterman opens by stating his surprise that a 1991 OECD report stated that American workers out produced British workers by over 30% and Japanese workers by an incredible 60%. The main out performance came from the service industry sector and the findings have been confirmed in other studies.
Waterman feels that the reasons for the American out performance is due to :
less regulation more flexibility leading to meeting of needs of employees and of customers.
Pages 18 - 21 discuss means of motivating people or as Waterman puts it 'getting people going'. The list of topics that get people going are ;
feeling in control
believing in the value of their work challenge lifelong learning recognition
This list is striking for its relationship with the motivation theory propounded by Herzberg.
For Waterman outperforming the opposition is not what he terms 'beating up the opposition" (p 21) but in seeking a 'sustainable advantage...as perceived by the customer" (pp 21 - 22)
Every successful company seems to sustain its success on the basis of three fundamental continuous innovation, customer satisfaction and cost. (p 22)
On empowering, Waterman quotes from an employee at Motorola that you can't empower without enabling and by enabling they meant learning. (p 24)
Team working and the desire to create work teams interests Waterman. He quotes from research findings produced by the American Productivity and Quality Center in Houston that only 7% of the American workforce is organised into self, managing teams. (p 34)
Waterman provides examples of practice form firms such as Motorola, Federal Express and Procter and Gamble. However, to get into the ethos of the organisation the example of PS 94 a deprived, overcrowded school in the Bronx district of New York makes for interesting reading for anyone interested in organisations. In this poorly resourced school :
...reading, writing and math scores are above national averages, and absentee rates are low. What seemed most striking on the day I visited was that most of the people I met were having fun. (p 69)
Coaching and mentoring were evident in PS 94. Waterman provides a list of attributes of good coaches :
gift of time
genuine concern and interest
sense of fun and humour (pp 71- 72)
More recently writers such as Bass (1992) have contrasted the role the transactional and the transformational manager. It is important to recognise that the transformational manager is an extension of the transactional and charismatic manager.
The transformational leader has
Charisma Provides inspiration Promotes intellectual inspiration and Gives individual consideration.
Characteristics of Transformational Leaders
They identify themselves as change agents
They are courageous individuals
They believe in people
They are value driven
They are life long learners
They have the ability to deal with complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty
They are visionaries
Tichy N and Devana M (1986) 'The Transformational Leader' Training and Development Journal July 1986
Characteristics of Charismatic Leaders
From Conger J and Kanungo R (1988) 'Behavioral Dimensions of Charismatic Leadership' in Conger and Kanungo Charismatic Leadership San Francisco Josey Bass (p 91)
The consequences of having an inbalance between individual and organisation values and empowerment is seen in the following illustration :
Empowerment / Values Grid
High Rebels High Performers Empowerment Low Miserable sods Mainstays Low High
Match of individual's values to organisation's values
From Brown M (1988) The Dinosaur Strain London Element
We can now move to an important aspect of management studies - politics in the work place. By this we mean political behaviour rather than preference for one party rather than another. One way of doing this is by indulging in impression management.
Management is best studied through examination of what is happening at work. We are aware of vague terms such as power politics and spin doctors etc. What we are not so aware of is that these principles are often found at work. We can use the terms impression management and micropolitics to cover this important and not well understood area of management. You must judge for yourself the credence you give to this area of study and be prepared to support your position with evidence.
Luthans et al (1988) carried out a study into 450 managers. The study concluded that all managers engages in four activities :
1 traditional management - decision making, planning and controlling
2 communication - exchanging information
3 HRM - motivating, disciplining, managing conflict, staffing and training
4 Networking - socialising, politicking, interacting with others
What was significant was the fact that the more successful (in terms of promotion) were those who indulged in a substantial amount of networking. (48%)
Time spent on various activities
Activity Successful Effective Manager Traditional manager Management 13% 19% Communication 28% 44% HRM 11% 26% Networking 48% 11%
Source : Luthans F and others (1988) Real Managers Cambridge MA. Ballinger Publishing
Impression Management Techniques
ˇConformity - agreeing with
ˇExcuses - such as failed to get response but no one responds in any case
ˇApologies - as well as asking for forgiveness
ˇAssociation - networking!!
Based on Giacalone R and Rosenfeld P (eds) (1989) Impression Management in the Organisation Hillsdale NJ Lawrence Eribaum Associates
Who are the Impression Management Players
Impression management arises people have an interest in how perceive them. Our clubs, what we read, ways of dress and behaviour reflect our impression management activities
When we become involved in controlling the perceptions others have of us we are engaging in impression management.
The person most likely to succeed in impression management is one who has competence in reading the specific situation and in moulding their behaviour to fit that specific set of circumstances
Question : Are we all impression managers? If your answer is no, why not.
Some dangers in Impression Management
Baron (1989) explores situations where impression management might succeed despite the true circumstances.
In instances where there is a high degree of uncertainty the individual may be allowed scope to get away with misrepresentations due to a lack of evidence with which to challenge the claims made by the impression manager.
Robbins 1993 p 427 states it is important that the "impression manager...be cautious not to be perceived as insincere or manipulative".
Baron R (1989) "Impression Management by Applicants During Employment interviews : The 'Too Much Good Thing' Effect" in Eder R and Ferris G (eds.) (1989) Employment Interview : Theory, Research and Practice Newbury Park Ca. Sage pp 204-215
Task : Luthans and others discuss the concept of impression management. State what impression management is and the advantages and disadvantages of the technique
Task : Identify two examples of you using impression management techniques on others, and give two examples of such techniques being used against you.
Clive Fletcher "Can interviewers learn from past mistakes?" People Management 9 January 1997 page 47 made reference to impression management practiced by job applicants.
Fletcher was prompted to write his short article by research carried out by Jo Sylvester at Swansea University on attitudes towards excuses. This is part of the growing subject area of impression management.
The title question refers to the past mistakes of candidates and found that
...where candidates attribute failure to themselves, but in such a way as to suggest that they control the situation in future, they are viewed more favourably by the interviewers" (Fletcher 1997p 47)
On the other hand if a candidate blames outside factors, which could be repeated, then we are less likely to excuse the excuse. As an illustration Fletcher refers to graduating university students and the claim of a large number (14% out of 250 in one study) that their results were affected by the death of a grandparent! Fletcher comments that exam time seems a particularly dangerous time for grandparents of university students.
The lesson of all this is that interviewers are more likely to accept mistakes if the candidate has learnt from these mistakes. The theory is that the candidate learns from mistakes and is unlikely to repeat them.
Fletcher warns personnel practitioners to beware of the coaching of candidates in impression management.
Fletcher concludes that :
Asking candidates to describe actual behaviour and situations, rather than referring to past actions, is likely to have more positive results in an interview. (Fletcher 1997 p 47)
Note also the Danish Navy Cabal example of the new art of impression management in Deal and Kennedy (1982)
The concept of authority has frequently been associated with that of power, because it has been thought that authority permits the exercise of power without the necessity for coercion. Cowling et al (1988) quote Weber's interpretation that compliance with authority was a voluntary act that rested on a common value system. Cowling et al found two relevant examples of the influence of personal power and authority, provided by Milgram (1963):
Milgram's example concerns authority and obedience. Milgram conducted an experiment to test whether individuals should carry out acts dangerous to one another in obedience to the orders of someone perceived as being a technical expert. Subjects were invited to participate in an experiment concerning learning under the stimulus of electronic shocks. The subject was in one room along with the expert, whilst the learner was supposedly seated in a chair next door wired to electric terminals. The learner was asked questions, and when he got the answer wrong the subject was instructed to administer an electric shock. With each mistake the voltage was increased in a manner visible to the subject, and clearly marked at different stages of slight, moderate and dangerous levels of shock up to 450 volts. When the subject pulled the generator switch following each mistake the generator lit up and buzzed, but unknown to the subject, no shock was actually transmitted to the learner.
It was observed that subjects were willing to carry on administering shocks to the unseen learner even after the danger level had supposedly been reached. At these levels the learner could be heard screaming and pounding on the walls, and thereafter lapsed into an ominous silence. At this stage most subjects turned anxiously to the instructor, who advised them to treat no response as an incorrect response and to proceed with the shock treatment. Out of some forty subjects, all proceeded beyond 450 volts, although most were visibly disturbed and under stress. When the experiment was repeated with forty new subjects, it was found that the absence of the experimental instructor in the room, using a telephone to communicate his orders, led to a dramatic fall in obedience, although some serious shocks were still administered.
Pfeffer notes that 'organisations, particularly large ones, are like governments in that they are fundamentally political entities. To understand them, one needs to understand organisational politics, just as to understand governments, one needs to understand government politics.'
The political perspective of organisations departs from the rational, idealistic model, comments Luthans (1995). He quotes Walter Nord for example, who dispels some of the dreams of ideal, rationally structured and humanistic organisations by pointing out some of the stark realities of political power. He suggests four aspects of power in organisations that help focus on the political realities:
Organisations are composed of coalitions which compete with one another for resources, energy, and influence. Various coalitions will seek to protect their interests and positions of influence. The unequal distribution of power itself has dehumanising effects. The exercise of power within organisations is one very crucial aspect of the exercise of power within the larger social system.
The political power game is very real in today's organisations. Luthans (1995) quotes Ferris and Kacmar (1992) concluding that politics in organisations is simply a fact of life. Personal experience, hunches, and anecdotal evidence for years have supported a general belief that behaviour in and of organisations is often political in nature. More recently, some conceptual and empirical research has added further support to these notions.
Luthans comments that some of today's large corporations have formalised their political nature by creating political action committees to support certain positions. But like other aspects of organisational dynamics, politics is not a simple process; it can vary from organisation to organisation and even from one department to another.
Luthans quotes research on organisational politics by Miles (1980) which identifies several areas that are particularly relevant to the degree to which organisations are political rather than rational. These areas include:
Resources- there is a direct relationship between the amount of politics and how critical and scarce the resources are. Also, politics will be encouraged when there is an infusion of new, 'unclaimed' resources. Decisions - Ambiguous decisions, decisions on which there is lack of agreement, and uncertain, long range strategic decisions lead to more politics than routine decisions. Goals - The more ambiguous and complex the goals become, the more politics there will be. Technology and external environment - In general, the more complex the internal technology of the organisation operating in turbulent external environments. Change - A reorganisation or a planned organisational development effort or even an unplanned change brought about by external forces will encourage political manoeuvring.
The above implies that some organisations and departments within the organisation will be more political than others. By the same token, however, it is clear that most of today's organisations meet the above requirements for being highly political. That is, they have very limited resources; make ambiguous, uncertain decisions; have very unclear yet complex goals; have increasingly complex technology; and are undergoing drastic existential change. This existing situation facing organisations makes them more political, and the power game becomes increasingly important, warns Luthans. Miles states that 'in short, conditions that threaten the status of the powerful or encourage the efforts of those wishing to increase their power bases will stimulate the intensity of organisational politics and increase the proportion of decision-making behaviours that can be classified as political as opposed to rational.'
Albrecht sees politics in the organisation as being in one or more of the following five forms :
1 Inner circle relationships
2 Axis of influence - any links between non senior management and lower levels in the hierarchy can exert powerful influences on senior managers.
3 Informal power centres - can be the result of expertise, control over resources, real or perceived special relationships with management (see also key words power, impression management)
4 Polarising elements - feuds / long standing disputes
5 Informal coalitions - (see also Dutch Admirals Paradigm in Deal T and Kennedy A (1988) Corporate Cultures Harmondsworth Penguin)
Albrecht K (1983) Organisation Development : A Total Systems Approach to Positive Change in any Business Organisation Englewood Cliffs NJ. Prentice Hall
Once it is understood and accepted that contemporary organisations are in reality largely political systems, some very specific strategies can be identified to help organisation members more effectively acquire power.
Luthans comments that there are various political strategies for gaining power in organisations and he summarises them as follows:
Promoting limited communication
Controlling access to information and persons
Making activities central and nonsubstitutable
Creating a sponsor-protege relationship
Stimulating competition among ambitious subordinates
Neutralising potential opposition
Making strategic replacements
Committing the uncommitted
Forming a winning coalition
Building personal stature
Using research data to support one's own point of view
Restricting communication about real intentions
Withdrawing from petty disputes
Luthans, F. (1995) Organisational Behaviour, (Seventh Edition), Penguin, Chapter 12, 320 - 340
Pettigrew and Political power
Pettigrew (1974) suggested a number of ways used by managers to block ideas of the specialist. Pettigrew listed 10 devices :
Put it in the bottom drawer
Mobilising political support
Might be useful in the future
Avoid the issue
More research needed
Scapegoat i.e. someone else won't like it
Nitty gritty tactic
Pettigrew A (1974) The influence process between Specialists and Executives Personnel review in Handy C (1985) Understanding Organizations London Penguin
These were in addition to Pettigrew's earlier contribution in identifying protective norms used in the organisation :
Denies outsiders competence Protective myths Secrecy norms Control over training and employment
Pettigrew A (1973) Occupational specialization as an emergent process in Sociological review quoted in Handy C (1985) Understanding Organizations London Penguin
Research is also being done on political tactics. For example Yulk and Falbe recently derived eight political or influence, tactics that are commonly found in today's organisations. These tactics are identified below:
Pressure tactics- The use of demands, threats, or intimidation to convince you to comply with a request or to support a proposal.
Upward appeals- Persuading you that the request is approved by higher management, or appeals to higher management for assistance in gaining your compliance with the request.
Exchange tactics- Making explicit or implicit promises that you will receive rewards or tangible benefits if you comply with a request of support a proposal, or remind you of a prior favour to be reciprocated.
Coalition tactics- Seeking the aid of others to persuade you to do something or using the support of others as an argument for you to agree also.
Ingratiating tactics- Seeking to get you in a good mood or to think favourably of the influence agent before asking you to do something.
Rational persuasion- Using logical arguments and factual evidence to persuade you that a proposal or request is viable and likely to result in the attainment of task objectives.
Inspirational appeals- Making an emotional request or proposal that arouses enthusiasm by appealing to your values and ideas, or by increasing your confidence that you can do it.
Consultation tactics- Seeking your participation in making a decision or planning how to implement a proposed policy, strategy, or change.
Yulk and Falbe found that the consultation and rational persuasion tactics were used most frequently and along with inspirational appeal were most effective. Some modern organisation theorists take more analytical approaches than most of the strategies suggested above. For example Pfeffer's strategies include management uncertainty, controlling resources, and building alliances. Others take a more pragmatic approach, such as Kakabadse's (1987) recent analysis that suggests that successful political behaviour involves keeping people happy, cultivating contracts, and wheeling and dealing.
Mintzberg (1983 in Handy 1985), in his comprehensive review of power and politics in organisations, has identified thirteen political games which by his definition involve illegitimate use of power but many of which use legitimate authority as part of the play.
Games to resist authority:
the insurgency games - to sabotage the intentions of superiors.
Games to counter resistance:
the counter-insurgency games - more rules, regulations and punishments.
Games to build power bases:
the sponsorship game - hitching oneself to a useful superior, a star;
the alliance game - finding useful colleagues;
the empire game - building coalitions of subordinates;
the budgeting game - getting control of resources;
the expertise game - flaunting and feigning expertise;
the lording game - flaunting one's authority.
Games to defeat rivals:
the line versus staff game - between units of functions.
Games to change the organisation:
the strategic candidates game - informing on an opponent;
the young Turks game - enclaves of key rebels.
Mintzberg argues that most of the games, when used in moderation, can have a healthy effect on keeping the organisation on its toes. Carried too far, however, they turn the whole organisation into a political cauldron and divert it from its main task.
You may conclude that we live and work in a society that is almost totally manipulative. The next section on groups may confirm this view.
The purpose of these notes is to provide background reading and sources to explore for those interested in further investigation into this most intriguing subject.
The notes start, somewhat traditionally; with a definition of what a group is. Mullins (1989 p 56) states that a group consists of a number of people who share (a) a common objective or task; (b) an awareness of group identity and boundary; (c) a minimum of agreed values and norms. This definition has the attraction of being wide and seems particularly appropriate to the class as a group or to groups within a class of students.
Luft and Ingham (1955) show the complexity of personality in their graphical representation of how people interact. The Johari Window offers four views of our personality. These are the self we share with others, the self others see but which might not be obvious, the private self others do not see and the self hidden both from others and ourselves.
The Johari Window the four squares are initially the same size. When we meet a new group of students , we and the students all have our own Johari Windows which we bring to the relationship. Our open self is that we wish to share with people. As our relationship develop we begin to reveal to others and see in others some of the previously concealed self.
The open and concealed self together show our perceptions of ourselves. Other people, students, colleagues etc. do not see us as we see ourselves. We know that perceptions can be subject to bias such as the 'halo effect' stereotyping, first impressions etc. These biases distort perception.
The blind self are those characteristics we unconsciously reveal to others, whilst the unknown self are not revealed to ourselves or others. When these hidden characteristics of the unknown self are revealed they can be significant. We may discover hidden talents, skills etc. which are of great importance to those involved in the education process. The empirical part of this study suggests that adult learners place importance on interpersonal relations and are critical when these relationships are perceived as being inadequate. Knowledge of the Johari Window is therefore of importance to the teacher of adult learners.
Through feedback from others our social interactions should open partially self and blind self windows. The success of the Johari Window in developing interpersonal relations depends on openness, trust and feedback. If the practitioner professes to have an open, reflective and student orientated approach it is essential for that practitioner to ensure that the initially closed windows are opened as widely as possible. It is then, and only then that we can appreciate the words "Experience is not neutral it is selected and interpreted" (Powell and Solity 1990 p 3)
We need to remember the words "Our constructs are our personal stories" (Powell and Solity p 128). An example of the influence of our perceptions was well described in Kelley (1950). The purpose of this experiment was to test the effect of first impressions on perception and behaviour. Students at MIT were given a substitute teacher for a particular class.
The students were given in note form information on the substitute teacher. Half the class were told that the teacher was a rather warm personality. The other half of the class were told that the teacher had a rather cold personality.
At the end of the class students were asked to rate the instructor on a number of traits. It was found that students who had received a note stating the instructor was a warm personality rated the instructor as being more considerate, humorous and human than did the students who had received the 'cold' information. The research also concluded that the content of the note also affected the student perception of the approachability of the instructor.
The value of the group can be seen in the organisational functions Handy (1985) saw a group performing a number of tasks including :
the distribution of work
the management and control of work
problem solving and decision making
information and idea collection
testing and ratifying decisions
co-ordination and liaison
increased commitment and involvement
negotiation or conflict resolution
inquest to or inquiry into the past
(Handy 1985 pp 155 - 156)
It can be seen that the teacher is involved in most, if not all the functions listed by Handy.
Wood (1993 p 23) discussing Fratney school in Milwaukee refers to the resolve of disciplinary problems through allowing the group to make rules within accepted parameters; and for the group to police these rules. This approach again used in an ordinary school classroom using techniques frequently found in "difficult" industrial relations scenarios through using knowledge of group dynamics, group cohesion, group think etc. refers to the resolve of disciplinary problems through allowing the group to make rules within accepted parameters; and for the group to police these rules. This approach again used in an ordinary school classroom using techniques frequently found in "difficult" industrial relations scenarios through using knowledge of group dynamics, group cohesion, group think etc.
Wanous et al (1984) provide a good overview of studies in group development (Schutz 1958, Modlin and Faris 1958, Tuckman 1965, Whitaker 1970, Hill and Gramer 1973) Of these models the most famous is that of Tuckman whose wheel of development showed four stages a group went through - forming, storming, norming and performing.
The interaction theme in a group was examined by Bales (1953) whose 'interaction process analysis' shows twelve categories the main categories being
Semi emotional : Positive - in this category Bales included actions that show solidarity i.e. rewards, giving help; shows tension release i.e. laughs, shows satisfaction; agrees
Task : Attempted answers - such as giving suggestion, giving opinion, giving orientation
Task : Questions - asking for orientation, such as information; asking for opinion such as evaluation, analysis, feeling; asking for suggestion such as direction ways of action.
Socio-Emotional : Negative - such as disagrees, shows tension or shows antagonism.
(Bales (1953) in Cowling et al (1988)
Bales work was further developed by Rackham and Morgan (1977). Their list includes the following categories of possible behaviour in groups.
Defending / attacking
Open Behaviour (risking ridicule and loss of status)
The role of individual's in a group was considered by Benne and Sheats (1948). The main significance of the study was the categorising of group roles under three headings - task oriented, maintenance oriented and some self oriented roles. This classification whilst being of importance to the teacher is of more academic interest than the work of Bales and Handy.
One of the most interesting accounts of and reasons for regular interruptions are recounted by Roy (1960) where the group being studied regularly forced stoppages in their work at regular intervals. These stoppages were named such as peach time, banana time, fish time etc. Roy thought that the ritual of the 'time' was to help pass the time in what was a boring job.
Experiments by Asch (1952), Milgram (1963) and Zimbardo (1973) show the force of social impact on the group and the high degree of conformity with those deemed to be in authority. These somewhat frightening experiments should inform the teacher of the perils of what Janis (1972) terms 'group think' when members of a group are reluctant to go against the prevailing group ideas. It is important for the teacher to encourage the development of self esteem and confidence in students so as to overcome some of the negative results of group norms and group think.
De Alberdi (1990) quotes Salancik and Pfeffer (1978)
If co-workers kept saying that a job as dull, horrible and undesirable then the job holder usually came to agree with them. (De Alberdi 1990 p 74)
Recent studies in aviation by Berkowitz (1986) and Barclay (1991) reveal the reluctance of aircraft crew to correct more senior pilot even when faced with inevitable accident, shows that even competent professionals can become victim of peer pressure, norms, group conformity and 'group think'. De Alberdi quotes Berkowitz :
It was found that when the pilot (the highest status group member) had the correct solution...all but 6% of the crews accepted the solution. But when the lowest status group member had the correct answer at the beginning, only about two thirds of the crews accepted it. Therefore the group is likely to defer to the judgement of the highest-status individual amongst them. This shows us the importance of encouraging and listening to contributions from all group members regardless of status. (De Alberdi 1990 p 87)
The problem of group think has been looked at by many writers. De Alberdi (1989 p 77) refers to Tysoe (1988) who stated that 'group think' is more likely to be seen in groups that have no traditions, are tight knit or cohesive, are relatively isolated from outside information and expert opinion and who have as a leader someone who does not support a spirit of inquiry but demands group loyalty.
The circumstances that can lead to 'group think' can often be seen in the classroom. When one also takes into account the student recognition of the of the symbolic interaction between them and the teacher who is in front of the class, who determines the class agenda etc. then we can see the danger of 'group think' in the classroom. Bines and Watson (1991) provide many illustrations of the 'reflective practitioner' approach of Schon (1987) that appear to negate many of the dangers of 'group think'.
What is of importance is the relationship of the members of the group. I include the teacher as a member of the group.
There have been a number of important studies on the composition of a group and means of improving group effectiveness. Belbin (1981 p 78) described the most effective and balanced group as comprising the following roles :
Shaper - task leader
Plant - ideas man of group
Monitor/Evaluator - analyst
Company worker - practical organiser
Resource investigator - Mr Fix It
Team worker - mediator
Finisher - progress chaser
Other writers such as Mottram (1982) and Margerison and McCann (1985) have produced refinements of Belbin's work.
Kelly and Kelly (1988 pp 19 -21) analyses some of the six personality types found on their course.
1 The Quantitative Analysis Jock - at home with personal computer and numerical data
2 The Humanist - concerned with human feelings rather than quantitative data.
3 The Synthesiser - aware of both numbers and feelings and their political implications - specialises in building consensus, mediating and telling people they are 'saying the same thing in different ways'. Sums up debates.
4 The Political Animal - not much original thinking, but great sensitivity to the politics of the situation.
5 The Skydecker - relaxed, above the political fray. Can play an active role in prodding the class when necessary. Swoops to make broad but often original point.
6 The Eccentric - The eccentric added another perspective to the group, a gritiness and savy others lacked. "on looking back, many others will say the eccentric enriched everyone's experience" (Kelly and Kelly 1988 p 21)
This personality analysis of a course the Kelly's were on shows the importance of recognising personalities that are in the actual group and using the strengths all members bring to the group, as well as trying to minimise the weaknesses.
What the studies of Belbin, Mottram, Margerison and McCann, and Kelly and Kelly show is that personalities who make up a group are important in determining the efficiency of the group. The amount of work on group studies is considerable but the views and ideas shown indicate that the classroom teacher would benefit from a good knowledge of and frequent updating of these ideas. Hopefully such knowledge would allow the teacher to structure tasks and learning so as benefit from such knowledge.
Having concentrated on the formal group we need also consider the informal group and the effect of these groups on classroom behaviour. Dalton (1959) saw the informal group as being important. Students form various types of cliques. These include horizontal cliques, vertical cliques and random cliques. In education the horizontal clique can be more productive than the lass meeting after a session for a drink. Many students form their own horizontal cliques to further their studies. These include mutual help sessions are seen by the student to be a valuable part of their curriculum. Once again the recognition of such cliques and the understanding of the part they can play in the learning process is desirable.
One of the essential requirements of the researcher using focus groups is some ability to understand how groups work. Stewart and Shamdasani (1990 pp 33 - 50) provides a good overview of some of the many researches conducted into group activities. One area that is not frequently encountered in general works on groups are the consequences of demographic variables.
Age and its effects on the frequency and complexity of interaction have been examined by a number of scholars. Selected findings of studies on age suggest that : the number and percentage of social contacts increases with age (Beaver 1932); an individual's ability to empathise increases with age (Dymond, Hughes and Raabe 1952); proneness to simultaneoustalking and interruptions decreases with age (Smith 1977); and risk taking behavior decreases with age (Chaubey 1974). There is some evidence to suggest that leadership behavior increases with age, as well (see Stogdill 1948)
Conformity, which is a tendency toward uniformity when individuals interact in a group, also appears to be related to age (see Berg and Bass 1961; Piaget 1954). Constanzo and Shaw (1966) hypothesize a curvilinear relationship between age and conformity - conformity increases to a maximum at about the age of 12 and decreases thereafter... (Stewart and Shamdasani 1990 p 37)
Perceptions of group members and the frequently inaccurate first impressions may not be a problem in a focus group whose members are known to each other. Factors such as group think (Janis 1972) is important for the researcher to be aware of, but as Stewart and Shamdasani (1990 p 41) state Terborg, Castore and DeNinno (1976) found that groups consisting of individuals with similar attitudes are more cohesive than groups of persons with less similar attitudes. The more cohesive the group the more likely it is to provide the discussion that will give the rich and varied data we expect from the focus group.
Honey (1988) makes the interesting suggestion that groups and teams are different. Honey defined a team as a small group who work together in such a way as to accomplish more than the sum they would have achieved as individuals. A team achieves synergy. This developing of synergy suggests that the quality of leadership is important in the way described by Fiedler (1967) and Adair (1988). Both Adair and Fiedler see the effectiveness of the leader as being dependent on the relationship between leader, group and clarity of the task.
The topics discussed in this section involve what is commonly termed intra group dynamics. The peril of not keeping abreast with recent developments is well put in Metcalf and Richards
The ruling ideas appropriate to an earlier age persist and continue to exert an influence on administrative behaviour and organisational structure long after the conditions which they develop have disappeared. (Metcalfe and Richards 1987 p 16)
Graen et al (1982) conclude that favoured groups arising out of the relationship between manager and certain subordinate groups leads to the greater performance and satisfaction of those groups. This is termed the Leader Member Exchange Theory. (see Robbins 1989 on this)
The understanding of change and its effective implementation depends on our knowledge and understanding of group behaviour, development and cohesion. Fry and Ury (1981) contains much practical help in dealing with difficulties such as those experienced when the 'other side' does not want to do what we want or if they indulge in strategies designed to obstruct our intent.
Many adult students experience discomfort when working in groups. This may well be due to a number of circumstances such as the desire for autonomy (see Gould and Bailey 1990) and the ingrained attitudes of school days that regarded any collaboration as being "cheating". Whilst younger students are aware of the acceptance of collaborative learning, there is a need for other adults to be convinced of its value and to be encouraged to accept the process as legitimate and helpful. The case for collaboration in learning has been put by Kohn (1986) in which Kohn describes the dollar auction approach and the work done by Peter Blau in 1954 showing that collaborative groups were generally more productive than competitive groups.
Models of group development stated in Wanous (1984)
Stage 1 in or out of group
Stage 2 top or bottom
Stage 3 near or far
Modlin and Faris 1958
Stage 1 Structuralism
Stage 2 Unrest
Stage 3 Change
Stage 4 Integration
Tuckman 1965 (see text)
Stage 1 Preaffiliation
Stage 2 Power and control
Stage 3 Intimacy
Stage 4 Differentiation
Bass and Ryterband (1979)
Stage 1 Developing mutual acceptance and membership
Stage 2 Communication and decision making
Stage 3 Motivation and productivity
Stage 4 Control and organisation
Hill and Gramer 1973
Stage 1 Orientation
Stage 2 Exploration
Stage 3 Production
What is culture
Culture : Understanding the deeper values in an organisation or how we do things here.
Henry Mintzberg has described culture as being a "mission" This, unfortunately implies the future. In reality culture is something, often intangible, that has evolved over the years.
Peter Drucker sees culture as "the spirit of performance" which is the "creation of energy" in the organisation.
Andrew Pettigrew sees the process of shaping culture as a prime management role. Pettigrew says " The leader not only creates the rational and tangible aspects of the organisation, such as structure and technology, but also is the creator of symbols, ideologies, language, beliefs, rituals and myths"
Joanne Martin of Stanford University talks of culture as being "systems composed of ideas, the meaning of which must be managed"
Culture can be regarded as tradition, folklore, the soul of the business. (Peters and Waterman "In Search of Excellence")
Chapter 8 pages 235 to 278 of "In Search of Excellence" is full of real life examples of company culture, especially of historical values.
Success stories are given in the form of case studies on :
* Hewlett Packard
In these case studies we see common themes concerning people :
* common language i.e. cast, Guests etc.
* excellent companies see themselves as extended families
* structures has simultaneous loose tight features
Collins J and Porras J 1988 Built to Last : Successful Habits of Visionary Companies London Century Publishers chapter 6 contains some excellent analysis of culture in the workplace.
Nordstrom is often quoted in texts on culture. Peters and Waterman spoke of Nordstrom in 1982 and Collins and Porras speak at length of the company and its culture in 1998.
Collis and Porras (1998 pp 115 - 121) contains a fascinating section by analysing some of the key ingredients of the culture as seen from the perspective of a new employee.
Selection of new employees is a lengthy and critical process. It may involve a number of interviews and the search for the potential "Nordie".
When new employees start in the company they start at the bottom, regardless of qualifications and contacts.
Whilst having to abide by the company culture the new employee has operational freedom.
Many fail to last the Nordstrom course. Collins and Porras reckon that about 50 per cent of employees leave in the first year.
Nordstrom operate an inverted organisation chart that puts the employee contact with the customer first. Cultural values are articulated in the chants of employees that "we are number one" etc, and in ceremonies such as the concept of "Customer Service all Star" where quality service is earned and rewarded.
Nordstrom has its story tellers who ensure that the cultural history of quality service is learnt and remembered. Stories exist of the employee who ironed a shirt bought by a customer who was going to an important function and the employee who gift wrapped a present for a customer, even though it was bought in Macy's.
Nordstrom's employee handbook is shown in its entirety. It is
Welcome to Nordstrom We're glad to have you with our company. Our number one goal is to provide Outstanding customer service Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Nordstrom Rules : Rule # 1 Use your good judgement in all situations There will be no additional rules Please feel free to ask your departmental manager, store manager or division general manager any question at any time.
That is it.
Collins and Porris provide further excellent examples of culture at IBM, Procter and Gamble, Disney etc. What is clear is the fervour, language, commitment and elitism experienced in companies with rich cultures.
One potential problem with strong cultures is that it could limit development through group think . Collins and Porras stress that "Cult like cultures, that preserve the core, must be counterweighted with a huge dose of stimulating process" (Collins and Porras 1998 p 138)
The steps taken to avoid stagnation is seen in the core ideologies of some of the companies discussed by Collins and Porras (1998 pp 87 - 90)
Nordstrom Service to customer above all else Hard work and productivity Continuous improvement, never be satisfied Excellence in reputation, being part of something special 3M Innovation "Thou shall not kill a new product idea" Absolute integrity Respect for individual initiative and personal growth Tolerance for honest mistakes Product quality and reliability Our real business is solving problems Citicorp Expansionism of size, of services, of geographical presence Being out front - such as the biggest, the best, most innovative, most profitable Autonomy and entrepreneurship, through decentralisation Meritocracy Aggressiveness and self confidence
Theoretical underpinning of culture
In our survey of the world of culture we need to be reminded that :
Human beings do not behave in and in response to the world "as it really is"...Human beings behave in and in response to the world as they perceive it. (Buchanan and Huczynski 1985 p 33)
The classic works of Schein (1984) and Deal and Kennedy (1982) provides the teacher with two deep but contrasting views of culture. Schein takes a more academic approach and sees culture as something which is owned by a group that has been in existence for a period of time and has been passed on to new members.
For Schein culture has different levels. The basic level is that of the visible artifacts - the environment of the organisation, traditions of dress, office layout, myths. folklore etc. The data are easy to obtain but hard to interpret. We can describe "how" a group constructs its environment and "what" behaviour patterns are discernible among the members., but we often cannot understand the underlying logic-"why" a group behaves the way it does. (Schein 1984 p 4)
Schein sees culture as being on three levels :
Level 1 : symbolic, material artefacts
Level 2 : values (how things ought to be)
Level 3 : basic assumptions and beliefs
1 Basic underlying assumptions that govern the company i.e customer first, superior quality etc.
2 Overt beliefs i.e. the winning team, the customer is always right etc.
3 Visible artefacts i.e. size of office.
Culture helps shape the way its members think about themselves, each other and their environment.
The understanding of why people behave comes, says Schein, from values. These in turn come from a third and deep level of "underlying assumptions which are typically unconscious, but which actually determine how group members perceive, think, and feel" (Schein 1984 p 5) For Schein, history explains much about the culture of the organisation. In much the same way Deal and Kennedy stress that culture can only be understood through a vigorous analysis of the past and in particular paying attention to the anecdotes and stories that pass through the cultural network.
Where Deal and Kennedy is of value is in the analysis of generic cultural types discussed in detail pages 107-127 and the chapter on communicating culture. The role of the storyteller, the priest, the gossip, whisperers, cabals will all be familiar. One type of culture that received scathing comments from Deal and Kennedy is the process culture. Many will find their descriptions of the process culture as being applicable to the institutions wherein they work.
Robbins says that values :
...are important to the study of organizational behavior because they lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation as well as influencing our perceptions. Individuals enter an organization with preconceived notions of what "ought" and what "ought not" to be. Of course these notions are not value free. On the contrary, they contain interpretations of right and wrong. Further, they imply that certain behaviors or outcomes are preferred over others. As a result, values cloud objectivity and rationality. (Robbins 1989 p 118)
Values are complicated. We cannot hope to understand the range of work on values. All that can be expected is an outline of the central part values play, an appreciation of some of the main works on the subject and a willingness to accept and to respect the values of others.
The single biggest influence on a company's structure is the broader social and business environment in which the company operates. A...culture embodies what it takes to succeed in the environment. If hard selling is required for success, the culture will be one that encourages people to sell and sell hard; if thoughtful decision making is required, the culture will make sure that happens too. (Deal and Kennedy 1982 107)
Assessing an Organisation's Culture
Discover business history - events, decisions and people that had shaped the business's history the dreams, ambitions, and values of the business's key managers and employees, the leaders who strongly influenced others. Discover the performance, motivation, and relationships of the employees, organisational stories about corporate priorities, values, concerns, traditions etc all the businesses idiosyncrasies, unique ways of doing things etc.
Many companies have made mistakes in thinking that it is easy to transfer an excellent strategy and culture to a new business. Quaker Oats grew tired of its dominant position in the oatmeal (porridge) and other food mixes market. It decided to branch out into the toy and restaurant business. It ran into trouble because the entry into new markets led to Quaker Oats to neglect the old established markets and the strategy and culture that went with those markets
Culture often manifests itself in the form of rituals. Turner (1980 pp 4 - 14) sets out a range of rituals that can be seen in education. These include consensual rituals that bring people together such as staff meetings, school or college prize givings. We often refer to these as reaffirmation rituals. Other rituals are place or territorial rituals such as reserved parking spaces. These place rituals are often formal but may equally be informal and are similar to differential territorial rituals such as reserved tables in the college restaurant for certain members of the staff or students.
We frequently see what Turner calls achievement rituals in education. These may be in the form of graduate days, prize givings. or the naming of scholarship students. Role and hierarchical rituals are often seen in the form of size of office, decoration of office and the like. Whilst such symbolic differentiation of rituals are more obvious in industry, the education service also provides many examples of such rituals. Turner also refers to differential affiliation rituals in the organisation. These include sub groups that can be department or organisation based, formal or informal. Informal groups or cliques as Dalton (1959) refers to them may be seen in the form of a group of students meeting for a drink after a class, or members of staff who may belong to a skittles group.
One type of culture - process culture, receives scathing comments from Deal and Kennedy. It is one many teachers will find as being applicable to the institutions wherein they work. What is also of interest is the description of the client and quality based culture which the writers call the work hard / play hard culture suited to today's aspiration for total quality in education. These two descriptions of cultures are central to the study of culture in education. Other generic cultures discussed by Deal and Kennedy are the Tough guy / macho image the high risk fact feedback type approach of say, a commodiity dealer in the finance industry. The last culture type is the Bet your company type of culture that we see in oil compnaies where large scale decisions are made that will have long term effects.
Every establishment has its storytellers, priests and whisperers. (Deal and Kennedy 1982 pp 87 - 90). They can often affect the way things happen in the organisation and perform a powerful link between past and present. In many ways the myths and rituals leads to the inflexibility of the further education service to meet the demands of modern society. The myth of the 36 week year, the obsession with number of hours class contact, rather than the content and quality of such class contact provide real examples for the cultural analyst.
Charles Handy tells us of four types of culture :
Power, where power stems from the centre
Role, bureaucratic i.e. eduation where position power is all important
Task, Job oriented, expert power is respected
Person, often seen in small professional groups
To manage culture we need to be able to identify symptoms of cultural malaise :
short term focus
fragmentation / inconsistency
where competing subcultures develop.
(Deal and Kennedy 1982 pp 136 - 139)
Knowledge of the symptoms of cultural malaise can help the teacher in the understanding of the world. It can help our understanding of the reality of our pedagogy. Perhaps we may be able to deal with some of the issues through our understanding of what is going on and our acquired knowledge of what interpersonal techniques are available for us to use and where to find that knowledge.
One method that is frequently used in an attempt to measure corporate climate or culture is the Likert and Likert (1976 p 75) profile of organisations. Many versions exist of this profile. One, for schools is detailed in Turner (1984 pp 14 - 16) This Profile of a School (POS) attempts to establish where the institution fits in relation to Likert's four management systems.
The four management systems are :
1 System 1 - exploitive - authoritative
2 System 2 - benevolent - authoritative
3 System 3 - consultative
4 System 4 - participative.
An interpretive and practical approach comes from Hampden-Turner (1990) who adopts the McKinsey S model approach to show the components of culture as it is and how it should be. This approach has the benefit of being visually simple and understandable. It is an approach that can help us move the cultural paradigm of the educational provider from one stressing the autocratic control of the classroom by the teacher to one of shared values of the teacher as facilitator.
Structure Staff Systems Strategy Skills Shared values Style
(Hampden-Turner 1990 p 93)
The objective is to change the process of the organisation structure from what is termed a viscous circle to a virtuous circle. To do this the structure needs to become less hierarchical, staff need to be service orientated, systems should encourage feedback of student views, skills should be developed that encourage commitment, communication and empathy with the needs of the client. The needs of the client provide shared values requiring a style that involves trust and in the desire for quality, an expectation of excellence.
Adapting the work of Hampden-Turner to education we frequently have a viscous circle that can be shown as :
Viscous Circle 1 Autocratic hierarchy 3 Bottom up needs of staff and 2 Inefficient bureaucracy student as client blocked 2 Failure to provide substantial 3 Top down order and authority warmth to client 1 Subordinated and disempowered teaching staff
The objective is to transform the viscous circle through culture changes to a virtuous circle :
Virtuous Circle 1 Newly empowered staff with discretion to improve 3 which leads to better informed and 2 which leads to warmth being committed staff passed to client 2 which leads to specialised functions 3 which leads to increased becoming more professional feedback about client 1 Teaching staff expertise even more effective
Adapted from (Hampden-Turner 1990 p 102)
The virtuous circle indicates a culture that encourages the teacher who regards the student as client and who strives for an ongoing process of improving quality. Whilst optimum change can come only with the full support of all ingredients of the McKinsey S model, the individual teacher can still exert influence on the curriculum and the process of learning through knowledge and application of the various techniques outlined in this research. The commitment by much of the further education system to the concept of improving quality will, hopefully, provide much needed institutional impetus to the virtuous model by providing appropriate systems to support the 'people' culture created by many teachers.
Bringing it all together
We can now start to bring our ideas together. What do we make of the complex structure of human behaviour that makes up an organisation?
The Foundation of Excellence
A book I found fascinating is "Creating Excellence" by Hickman and Silva. It was published in Great Britain by Unwin Paperbacks.
Some of the points made by Hickman and Silva
It is an unfortunate fact that most top executives can only think in terms of strategy or culture. They cannot do both simultaneously.
To unite strategy with culture you first need to develop a vision of the firm's future and then in order to implement strategy for making that vision a reality, you need to nurture a corporate culture that is motivated by and dedicated to the vision.
The challenge is to become both visionary and realistic, sensitive and demanding, innovative and practical. The leaders who do this are the ones who do things first. They are the leaders who enjoy being on the leading edge of new trends and ideas.
Strategic thinking and culture building work in tandem.
The book "Creating Excellence" gives many examples of firms who have failed to combine strategy and culture. Exxon thought that they could run an office systems business like an oil company. They failed. Banks and other companies who, both in the UK and USA; believed they could run property businesses now have a long, costly time to reflection their failure to plan a co-ordinated strategy-culture exercise.
(See Tom Peters "Thriving on Chaos" for examples of take-over situations where the promised synergy did not take place)
A successful instance of combining strategy and culture can be seen if we examine the behaviour of Hewlett Packard which has instilled a sense of shared purpose and a striving for technological innovation in its organisation by encouraging rather than stifling an entrepreneurial spirit.
The 1980's spawned new management techniques such as quality circles, team building, Japanese - style management etc. There are documented cases of successful users of these techniques, but it is more than likely that these successful companies had a positive environment (culture) to accommodate these techniques.
Michael Maccoby in his book "The Leader" says :
"A new model of leadership that expresses an ethic of self development is needed, not just at the top, but at all levels of large business, government, union and non profit organisations"
What this means is that executives and managers must immediately develop new skills and abilities, not through simple formulas, mechanistic techniques or imitation, but through a deep dedication to fundamental new skills.
(See also Peters and Waterman "In Search of Excellence", Peters and Austin "Passion for Excellence", Richard Foster "Innovation, the Attacker's Advantage", Goldsmith and Clutterbuck "The Winning Streak", Richard Waterman Jnr. "The Renewal Factor" for similar sentiments put in a different way)
"Creating Excellence" gives a list of six new skills an executive needs to acquire.
Six Skills for the Executive of the 90's
Creative insight (strategy) and sensitivity (culture) provides a strong foundation for the future. Vision and patience helps integrate skills. Versatility and focus provide the means of adaptation.
Creative insight requires the executive to ask the right questions. Usually we see the trees or the forest but rarely both.
Sensitivity is an essential to develop culture. Every strong culture derives from management's sensitivity. Without it, employees feel unmotivated, under-utilised and even exploited.
The writers of "Creating Excellence" give on pages 34 - 35 the story of the development of the McKinsey Management Consultancy organisation.
Kotter and Change
Kotter J (1995) Leading Change : Why Transformation Efforts Fail Harvard Business Review March - April 1995 pp 59 - 67The paper opens by claiming that most initiatives to change flounder for one or more reasons.
The general lesson to be learnt from the more successful companies is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces a satisfying result. (Kotter 1995 p 59)
Kotter also draws attention to the fact that critical mistakes in any of these phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating gains.
On page 61 Kotter provides a list of what should be done to facilitate transformation. The following examines the reasons for failure to achieve successful transformation.
Error number 1 - Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency
Most successful change arises out of a sense of urgency. This is important as it encourages a sense of urgency and motivation needed by the organisation. Kotter believes that more than 50% of companies fail in this seemingly simple first stage. "Sometimes executives underestimate how hard it can be to drive people out of their comfort zones" (Kotter 1995 p 60)
In a few of the most successful cases, a group has manufactured a crisis. One CEO deliberately engineered the largest accounting loss in the company's history, creating huge pressures from Wall Street in the process. (Kotter 1995 p 60)
Error number 2 Not creating a powerful enough guiding coalition
Get the gatekeepers involved. This area involves commitment from senior management as well as strong leadership.
Error number 3 Lacking vision
The successful company "develops pictures of the future that is relatively easy to communicate and appeals" (Kotter 1995 p 63)
In failed transformations you often find plenty of plans, directives, and programs, but no vision. In one case, a company gave out four inch note books describing its changing effort. In numb minding detail, the book spelled out procedures, goals, methods, and deadlines. But nowhere was there a clear and compelling statement of where this was all leading. (Kotter 1995 p 63)
Kotter suggests that if you cannot communicate the vision in five minutes or less and get a reaction that signifies both understanding and interest - then you are out in business.
Error number 4 Under communicating the vision by a factor of 10
Communicate at all times and in all ways, even if you have not got that much to say.
Error number 5 Not removing obstacles to the new vision
Too often, an employee understands the new vision and wants to help make t happen. But an elephant appears to be blocking the path. (Kotter 1995 p 64)
Sometimes the obstacle is the organisation structure... sometimes compensation or performance appraisal systems make people choose between the new vision and their own self interest...Perhaps worst of all are the bosses who refuse to change and make demands that are inconsistent with the overall effort. (Kotter 1995 p 64)
One company began its transformation process with much publicity and actually made good progress through the fourth phase. Then the change effort ground to a halt because the officer in charge of the company's largest division was allowed to undermine most of the new initiative. (Kotter 1995 p 64)
Error number 6 Not systematically planning for and creating short term wins
This is based on the reinforcement theory of motivation, "without short term wins, too many people give up or actively join the ranks of the people who have been resisting change". (Kotter 1995 p 65)
"Creating short term wins is different from hoping for short term wins" (Kotter 1995 p 65)
Error number 7 Declaring victory too soon
Ironically, it is often a combination of change initiators that creates the premature victory celebrations. In their enthusiasm once a clear sign of progress. the initiators go overboard. They are then joined by the resistors, who are quick to spot any opportunity to stop change. (Kotter 1995 p 66)
Instead of declaring victory, leader of successful efforts use the credibility afforded to them by short term wins to tackle even bigger problems
Error number 8 Not anchoring changes in the corporate culture
In the final analysis, change sticks when it becomes "the way we do things around here", when it seeps into the bloodstream and the corporate body. Until new behaviors are routed in social norms and school values, they are subject to degradation as soon as the pressure for change is removed. (Kotter 1995 p 67)
Total Quality Management
Wille E (1992) Quality : Achieving Excellence London Century Business 'This book is one of the Sunday Times Business Skills series.
Quality is about people and attitudes
Quality is delighting the customer by continuously meeting and improving upon agreed requirements
Wille sees the employee who indulges in bending the rules a little to accommodate a long standing customer's needs as exercising quality
Gurus of Quality
W Edwards Deming is regarded by the TQM school as the leader. Deming's philosophy is built on the belief that Systems must be provided by management that are centred around people and their well being. (page 11) The reader versed in the texts of the excellence school of management will constantly recall similar human stories in the works of Peters and Waterman, Nancy Austin, Clutterbuck and Coldsmith etc. etc. Where Deming and the TQM school differs is in their belief in statistical techniques, discussed by Wille in chapter 9.
Deming's philosophy of quality is to be found around his 14 points or as he terms them obligations. These obligations are intended to be vehicles for opening the mind to new thinking. Wille in my view uses the early part of his book to create the questioning environment to encourage the reflection needed to appreciate the 14 obligations. The 14 points are to be seen in Deming W F (1986) Out of the Crisis Cambridge MA MIT Press (pp 23-24).
The 14 points cover:
I Constancy of purpose
2 New philosophy - quality and continuous improvement is all important
3 Away with mass inspection - enable people to be their own inspectors
4 Reliability of supplier - go for quality not lowest price
5 Constant improvement
6 Train Train and Train
7 Leadership - transformational
8 Drive out fear - abandon them and us approach
9 Pull down barriers
10 Eliminate slogans
11 Cot rid of quotas - i.e. bonus payments
12 Pride of workmanship - on going discussions on quality
13 Transformation is everybody's job.
14 Vigorous education and self improvement
Much of Wille's book relates to the 14 points of Deming and provides many examples. Pages 37-39 provide good examples of the failure of imposing limits of two minutes in the dealing of customer complaints and Deming himself gives the story of airline enquiry staff being required to deal with 25 enquiries per hour. Often the system let them down.
Wille (p 42) states that "companies all over the world are still living in the shadow of F W Taylor" Wille makes reference to the approach of Bosch in Cardiff abolishing the terms skilled and unskilled. It is of interest that trainers in industry well recognised the futility of this distinction in the 1970's.
Pages 56-57 refer to the story of the nuclear plant which averaged 12 serious accidents per year. The edict from top management was for the rate to be halved. Whilst Wille feels that management were being foolish to plan" 6 serious accidents per year, it is not difficult to see and appreciate the true views of the management.
IBM feel that not doing things right the first time accounts for a significant amount manufacturing costs. (P 60)
The concept of client service in the aviation industry is seen on page 65 where Wille refers to experience of SAS and British Airways. [See Carlzon above] The involvement of the client in setting supplier standards is mentioned in pages 70-71 in the case of Marks and Spencer and Northern Foods.
Chapter 7 deals with empowering teams. Page 83 gives the example of Nissan workers in County Durham being willing to clear a days work, after the official finishing time.
Chapter 8 refers to service and quality support. Pages 94-95 provides a sound example of the hotel manager who knew something about customer care. In this aspect Wille makes the same point as Tom Peters who refers to Stu Leonard being worried when he sees an unhappy customer leaving his store.
The first eight chapters contain nothing new for the reader of the school of excellence. Chapter 9 breaks new ground. This really is the difference between the TQM and excellence school. The chapter deals with Techniques for Quality and refers to process control charts, histograms, Pareto diagrams etc.
Chapter 11 onwards deals with a wealth of examples. Page 136 talks of priorities in planning: Growing people, give them accountability and responsibility, taking them from baby to full adult is the key activity of organisations, and manages are the people with the key role in this growing of people. In fact you can say they have no other function (P 136)
Peter Tattersley of the Braintree District Council, in one of the examples quoted by Wille, says of TQM "Quality is doing what you say you'll do; and it goes beyond BS 5750" p 151) This is important to Braintree. The person running the swimming pool describes how success in quality can be measured
When people drive in there is no litter in the car park to make them feel they don't want to swim here. The lights are all on; there are no missing light bulbs; the sign posts are clear and the shrubs don't overflow the footpath; the windows are not broken and there is no graffiti. The receptionist is friendly; the showers aren't too hot or too cold; the keys in the lockers work; and the vending machine hasn't got a sign 'out of order across it. (Wille (1992 p 151)
Another of the Braintree team Roger Barrett says that Braintree was not a hierarchical organisation. "It thrives on informal relationships. People are encouraged to network and work in teams across boundaries" (p 156)
Is TQM new?
The text relating to Wille's book on TQNI makes clear that TQM is not new. The only innovative part of the Deming theory is the reliance on statistical techniques. In a 1992 conference on Human Resources held in Paris Ed Lawler was critical of the way in which management's desire to retain the hierarchical structure to the detriment of team building was holding back the development of TQM. The interested reader would do well to refer to Lawler E (1986) High Involvement Management San Francisco Josey Bass for an appreciation of what Lawler sees are the ingredients of modern participative management. Amongst the participative programmes suggested by Lawler are quality circles, employee survey feedback, job enrichment and work teams. The reader will see that Lawler, Deming and the TQM school are preaching the same gospel. Another recent text that adopts a somewhat structured approach to participative management is Manz C and Sims H (1989) Superleadership: Leading Others to Lead Themselves New York Prentice Hall. Manz and Sims approach the development of the superleader through two strategies : behavioural focused and cognitive strategies.
Ethics and Management
Bartol K and Martin D (1991) Management New York McGraw Hill chapter 4 Social responsibility and Ethics in Management pp 112-151 discusses in detail a subject matter that is becoming more and more of interest to writers and researchers of management issues. Page 112 contains an overview of the chapter.
The subject matter would be broken down into the following segments :
Organisational social responsibility Organisational social responsiveness Being an ethical manager Managing an ethical organisation Organisational social responsibility
An example of social responsibility by an organisation was that of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) in 1982. Bottles of the drug Tylenol made by J&J had been contaminated by cyanide in what turned out to be highly localised around the Chicago area. It became clear that the contamination was not the fault of J&J and the FBI and the American Food and Drug Administration both advised J&J not to take drastic action.J&J showed it organisational social responsibility by deciding to remove all Tylenol from sale at a cost of $100 million. James Burke, Chairman of J&J explained the reason for the removal of Tylenol : Crisis management did not see us through this tragedy as much as the sound business management philosophy that is embodied in our credo. (Bartol and Martin (1991 (p 113)
Management ethics is defined as :
Standards of conduct and moral judgement used by organisations in carrying out their business. (Bartol and Martin 1991 p 115)
Bartol and Martin accept that ethics involves the distinguishing between right and wrong. There are a number of various approaches to corporate ethics.
Invisible hand approach of corporate social responsibility can be traced back to Adam Smith and was a make profit and obey the law approach.
Government hand approach to corporate social responsibility has been seen in increasing legislation introduced into business. The Employment Rights Act 1996 along with legislation of equal pay and anti discrimination law are examples.
Hand of management approach to corporate social responsibility is seen in the culture of firms such as Marks and Spencer and Johnson and Johnson.
Who is the corporate body socially responsible to?
Bartol and Martin say that the corporate body is socially responsible to
I would add supplier to this list. English company law now recognises and reinforces the need to behave responsibly to employee, customer and supplier as well as shareholder. The various legislation such as Insolvency Act 1987, Financial Services Act 1986 are examples of legal intervention.
Does social responsibility pay?
Research has provided mixed results. Annual Fortune magazine surveys would suggest that financial success drives social responsibility. It is noticeable that large pharmaceutical companies are often amongst those firms showing Òsocial responsibility. Toole J (1985) Vanguard Management : Redesigning the Corporate Future New York Doubleday suggests that many companies are successful in finance and in showing a social awareness. Toole calls these companies vanguard organisations and they have four characteristics in common :
1 they try to satisfy all their shareholders
2 they are committed to a higher purpose
3 they value continuing learning
4 they aim high.
The second part of the Bartol and Martin (1991) deals with Organisational Social responsiveness.
The term refers to the development of organisational decision processes whereby managers anticipate, respond to, and manage social responsibility. Social forecasting is the systematic process of identifying social trends, evaluating the importance of these trends to the organisation and integrating these assessments into the organisation's forecasting system. We can use attitudes surveys, opinion surveys, etc. that can help the organisation appreciate what its social responsiveness should be.
Being an Ethical Manager
Managerial ethics frequently receive bad publicity. Insider deals on the Stock Exchange, misuse of corporate monies, disregard of shareholder values are all aspects of concern to any student of managerial ethics. Recently there have been positive action to make managers more aware of the need for ethical management. In 1988 the accounting house of Arthur Anderson gave $5 million to encourage and support the teaching of business ethics in US Business (Bartol and Martin (1991 p 132)
Problems occur when ethical values and corporate mission values conflict with personal values.
The concepts of strategy and strategic management has evolved over a number of years. A brief overview of the origin and development of strategy shows the evolution from generalised ideas and fads such as corporate planning to very sharply focused theories of strategy such as the resource based view of Collis and Montgomery.
What is Strategy?
There are many definitions of what is strategy. One general definition and one that has stood the test of time is that of Ohmae :
What business strategy is all about...is, in a word, competitive advantage...The sole purpose of strategic planning is to enable a company to gain, as efficiently as possible, a sustainable edge over its competitor. Corporate strategy thus implies an attempt to alter company strength relative to that of its competitors in the most efficient way. Kenichi Ohmae (1983) The Mind of the Strategist London Penguin Books
Examples of strategy
Netball, how do we approach the game against the best team in the league?
How do we approach our study of the Professional Administration course?
How can we at ABC Bank establish ourselves as the best bank in Guernsey?
How can Marks and Spencer recover its premier position in the High Street? (December 1998)
Strategic Thinking in the Organisation
Strategy is about choice and how we go about making choice.
Following on from a definition of strategy we can develop a meaning to strategic thinking. The essence of strategic thinking is: Locating, attracting and holding customers. With this concept of strategic thinking we can easily appreciate the definition of strategy as the underlying theme that gives coherence and direction to the actions and decisions of the organisation (Craig and Grant 1993 p 15). The underlying theme is usually to be seen in the organisation mission statement.
Organisations need strategy to take into account the thousands of external variables that affect it and require decisions as to choice.
Strategic and Technical Decisions
Strategic decisions are characterised by : importance, not being easily reversible and involve commitment of resources for a significant period of time. You can see why we need to have the best sort of information in order to make strategic decisions.
If we accept the importance and relative fixation of strategic decisions it follows that we need to get the right decisions. Strategic decisions are big decisions. [Note : this section should be read in conjunction with the sections on change management and the learning organisation. These offer useful practical approaches that affect strategic decisions.
Ingredients of a Successful Strategy
In this section we can use Marks and Spencer as an illustrator of strategy matters.
Long term simple goals i.e. Marks and Spencer responsible to shareholders, employees, customers.
Analysis of competitive environment i.e. Marks and Spencer understanding of retail sector
Objective appraisal of resources i.e. Marks and Spencer recognise importance of brand name, ability to look after and motivate employees, customer relations etc.
Effective implementation i.e. Clear strategy leads to consistency of decision making
Strategy is envisaged to be the interface between the firm and its environment(Craig and Grant 1993 p 19)
Task : How can this quotation from Craig and Grant be applied to your organisation
A strategy when it is prepared in the form of a business plan will examine the four ingredients of a successful strategy. This is the basics of a SWOT analysis and could reveal some surprising, and positive conclusions.
Looking at more specific questions to ask in the business plan, Craig and Grant suggest that the organisation comprises three principal elements :
Goals and values which determine strategy resources and capabilities which the firm has access to organization structure, systems and leadership styles through which strategy is implemented. (Craig and Grant 1993 p 19)
Having considered what we mean by strategy we must now examine some of the practical aspects of strategy.
Practical Questions on Strategy
What are we doing now
What are we doing wrong
What can we do to put things right.
Then, and only then, can we begin to tackle some of the more fundamental issues such as decisions over which businesses the company should enter and exit, and how to allocate its resources between the different businesses we are in.
Business strategy is concerned with the means by which a company seeks competitive advantage within each of its major businesses (Craig and Grant 1993 pp 21-22)
Strategic thinking viewpoints
Here are some more practical matters that make up our strategic decisions.
Satisfying customer needs involves customer segments, customer perceptions, unmet customer needs, future customer needs
Sustaining Competitive Advantage, competitive advantage, competitors gaps, value and costs, competitor reactions
Capitalizing on Company Strengths and weaknesses, new applications, business portfolios, opportunity and strengths.
These factors will provide a check list for the business plan and will certainly be an integral part of any marketing plan. Some of these points will be dealt with later in this paper.
Analysis of Strategy in an Organisation
Analysing Industry and Competition
This approach is well known and concentrates on aspects of strategy as set out by Michael Porter. Porter proposes frameworks for developing an analytical approach to strategic planning.
Porter provides the five forces of competition model to help determine the intensity of competition and the level of industry profit. This model really requires knowledge of both economics and marketing.
The five forces are
Threat of substitutes
Threat of entry
Rivalry amongst existing firms
Bargaining power of buyers
Bargaining power of sellers
Some further analysis of Porter's approach
How easy is it for newcomers to enter the market?
Main barriers to entry include :
Economics of scale
Absolute cost advantages
Resistance to utilise resources to the maximum comes from within. All too often appropriate staff are excluded from courses by course leaders or whatever they call themselves. Are these people keeping others off courses because the fear competition from the newcomers to the courses? This is an important question in relation to use of resources and in any SWOT analysis.
Rivalry amongst existing firms
Determinants of possible rivalry include :
Seller concentration - monopoly, oligopoly etc.
Diversity of competitors - how much competition is there? More divers the greater the competition. This could be a problem. The greater the number of possible entrants the greater the competition. However, this works both ways. It can be a strength as no one competitor has a great influence on our markets.
Product differentiation - Competitors have not thus far demonstrated much product differentiation. The simple reason is that there has been no need for them to demonstrate such capabilities. This makes for a complacent provider, although one could say that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black!!.
Excess capacity Cost conditions - Fixed costs must play an important part in any competitors portfolio.
Bargaining power of buyers
Establishing a competitive advantage
Requires two questions to be answered :
What do our customers want?
How do we survive against competition?
An alternative approach to strategy
If we want to understand why some organisations consistently outperform others we must look beyond strategy for the answer. To this end resource analysis helps.
Resources are individual assets of the company such as capital equipment, employee skills, patents, brand names etc. Resources can be tangible or intangible. We need to ask what opportunities exist for the economising of our resources in order to undertake existing activities more effectively? Capabilities are what the firm can do - the synergy of working together.
The question we ask concerning capabilities is what are the possibilities for employing existing assets more profitably?
For a resource to be part of an effective strategy the resource must pass a number of external market tests of its value. Collis and Montgomery suggest five tests we can apply to resources :
1 Test of inimitability - is the resource hard to copy. The strength of this resource is dependent on :
a) physical uniqueness - such as pharmaceutical patents
b) causal ambiguity - why for instance is Southwest Airlines in the USA so successful? Is it because of its culture?
c) economic deterrence
2 Test of durability - that is how quickly does this resource depreciate? The longer lasting the resource the more valuable it will be.
3 The test of appropriatability - that is can we determine who really captures the profit. Barings thought it was Nick Leeson
4 The test of substitutability - can a unique resource be trumped by a different resource. This approach derives from Porters five points. An example was the case of Peoples Express. Their competitive advantage was in no frills cut price fares. The major competitors could not compete head on. What the competitors did was to retaliate by using a different resource - their CRS and yield management ability.
5 The test of competitive superiority - whose resources are really better? How do our resources compare with outsiders? There is a danger that core competence has too often become a feel good exercise that no one fails (Collis and Montgomery 1995 p 123)
Task : Look once more at the section on Marks and Spencer. Can you see aspects of Porter and Collis and Montgomery in their approach to strategy? If the answer is no, please re read the earlier section.
Levels of Strategies
Corporate (or executive) Level Strategy
Is the responsibility of top management and is mostly concerned with effectiveness
Business (or tactical) Level Strategy
Is the responsiblity of divisional (that is, middle level) managers and is concerned with "a mix" of effectiveness and efficiency
Functional (or operational) Level Strategy
Is the responsiblity of functional (that is, lower level) managers and is mostly concerned with efficiency
Acquiring or developing of other business
Offers more opportunity for synergy
Offers opportunity for competitive advantage
Offers less opportunity to diversify risk
Offers more opportunity for utilisation of existing management expertise
Offers more opportunity for cost minimization; economies of scale
Involves the selling off of business due to poor performance or "poor fit" with mission/aims
Example: Banks and Estate Agents in UK
The creation of a jointly owned, but independent organisation by two or more separate parent firms
Attempt to save a company from decline
Example: Continental Airlines
Calls for the business to capture and dominate a small, specialised market segment
The business offers something unlike competitors, we find something to differentiate our product from others. Maybe, through concentration on service.
The Product Life Cycle
This diagram shows the business the status of its products, from start-up, through to growth, then achieving maturity and eventually decline.
The product life cycle will allow us to see in graphic form areas of the business wwhere we need to re- examine our strategy.
The BCG Growth/Share Matrix
BCG (Boston Consulting Group) developed the idea in the 1960s
Management decision regarding allocation of resources should be based upon which "corner" of the matrix "they are in"
Cash cow -- 'Milk it,' use resources to support a star
Star -- 'Feed it' resources, so that it will grow into a big, fat cash cow
Dog -- "Its days are over;" cut off resources or divest
Question Mark -- Management 'judgment call, should it be fed, hoping for a star?
Task : can you see the connection between the product life cycle and the Boston Matrix?
Organisational capability should derive from resource analysis. It means we find out what we do, and the reasons for doing it well.
This section concludes with a few short notes on strategy at British Airways. The resistors to change (and perhaps supporters) will state that we are not an airline. That is true. What is striking about the development of strategy at British Airways is in the transference of ideas from that organisations strategy to education. To take a few words from the analysis :
A distinctive capability of BA is the brand value of the name BA which is supported by customer perception of brand, reliability and frequency of flight, consistency of service, constant emphasis on quality
Therefore BA has three distinct capabilities
1 extensive access to Heathrow,
2 possession of route license,
3 BA brand.
Strategy at British Airways
British Airways competitive analysis based on its strategic assets - especially Heathrow Airport
For numerous reasons Heathrow is ideally placed to serve the business market. BA accounts for something like 45% of operations from and to Heathrow. Therefore valued assets at Heathrow include landing and take off slots
Until recently BA has been a beneficiary of license restrictions in the UK and Europe. In the 1990šs these restrictions have been eased. The license restrictions have become of diminishing value in recent years.
A distinctive capability of BA is the brand value of the name BA which is supported by :
customer perception of brand
reliability and frequency of flights
consistency of service
constant emphasis on quality
Therefore BA has three distinct capabilities :
1 extensive access to Heathrow slots
2 possession of route licence
3 BA brand
BA strategy must be to match markets to distinctive capabilities. It seems sensible for an airline to serve both business and leisure customers. BAšs primary market is the full fare customer in both club (business) and world (economy) classes. Where there is surplus space, seats are sold to the leisure passenger.
One area that has been developed by BA in the 1990šs are the scope economies that result from routes that themselves are low yield, but generate traffic on other routes, particularly Heathrow and Gatwick.
A phenomena of the 1990s has been the growth of frequent mileage programmes. These tend to encourage passengers to continue flying BA
One other innovation has been the development of alliances with other airlines such as US Air and the apparently successful BA Express.
These ideas derive from the USA but are appropriate to BA strategy as they derive from US deregulation and freer markets.
This approach seems appropriate for the freer European markets and the reduction of the entry barriers to other airlines at Heathrow etc.
The quest of strategy is to get the customer and keep them.
BA aviation markets are :
business travel to and from Heathrow
leisure travel from Heathrow
interlining traffic ex Heathrow
development of a Gatwick hub
development of close working relations, especially with American Airlines
BA can be said to have a competitive advantage in the first of these markets, while the others form a buttress of the primary advantages through economies of scope
Value of Competitive Advantage to British Airways
BA strategic assets and distinctive capabilities are reflected more in revenues and in costs. This is clear from the strategy to develop markets.
It is appropriate for us to examine the perception of passengers to BA services as a means of valuing its competitive advantage.
BA product - the aircraft seat sells at a premium to similar offerings from other airlines.
BA brand name is said to be worth 3% of revenues
Heathrow is worth 10% of revenues
Route licences are worth 8% of revenues.
Competitive advantages need to be considered against the market, BAšs competitive advantages have been reduced due to competition, higher cost base, etc.
Business Strategy at British Airways
BA occupies a mid position in its business strategy. It concentrates on obtaining yields from business and full fare passengers.
BA operates a high frequency flight schedule with a well advertised and promoted frequent flyer scheme.
BA is also involved with CRS computerised booking systems. (Refer back to American Airlines mission statement - to be the global market leader in air transportation and related information services
The advantages of CRS are more limited than was first envisaged, but still provide much business through travel agents
Lessons from BA
If we want to understand why some firms consistently outperform others we must look beyond strategy for the answer. We need to match markets to particular / distinctive capabilities of the organisation. Kay J (1995) Foundations of Corporate Success Oxford Oxford Paperbacks states that we need to redefine the question What is our core business to What markets are those which best enable us to translate our distinctive capability into competitive advantageš (Kay 1995 p 132). This in many ways is similar to the view taken by Collis and Montgomery .
The outcome of such a resources approach or RBV (resource based view) of Collis and Montgomery is that we need to be more aware of the importance of product positioning. This can be regarded as altering the perception of the market to the product (s) of the organisation.
The cyclical nature of this exercise is seen when we appreciate that Kay sees the basis of organisational ability as being in one or more of three areas :
architecture, by which he means the nature of relationships, internal, external, networking, flexible response, organisational knowledge
The importance of focus depends on the number of product available in the market place. An unfocused product is one which might be everyone's second or third choice, but no ones first. (Kay 1995 p 159)
Task : How would you develop a strategic plan for your learning of management studies?
Why bother with the learning organisation.
The concept of the learning organisation is important to us because of the ever changing society in which we live. This requires immediate adjustment to the changing environment that envelopes the organisation.
What is the learning organisation?
Senge (1994) feels that the modern organisation often fails to be a learning organisation for a number of reasons. The learning organisation is seen as being one where all involved see the consequences of their action and learn from these and actions of others. The non learning organisation is one where people operate in their own protective vacuum and are not aware of the consequences of their individual action on the overall organisation. The non learning organisation is restricted by tunnel vision and negative aspects of culture. According to Senge many of the modern organisations are non learning organisations.
To be a learning organisation five 1'competent technologies" must converge to innovate the learning organisation. These are:
Systems thinking - conceptual framework. We must appreciate where our acts impinge and have consequences on others. The approach is in many ways similar to the ethos of TQM but based on a bedrock of BS 5750. What we need to avoid is what Peters and Waterman (1982) describe as 'paralysis through analysis'. The organisation must have a set of systems that help not hinder the learning organisation. There must be a clear movement between control, efficiency and effectiveness.
Personal Mastery - continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision. Learning from experiences, avoiding the temptation to attribute failure tom others and success to ourselves. The developing of the discipline of reflection of professional practice will aid the development of personal mastery. There is a requirement that we accept that we can develop our professional competence. Again there are obvious connections with the concept of TQM
Mental Models - deeply ingrained assumptions that influence how we understand how we understand the world and how we take action (deep culture). The lesson here is that these cultural assumptions must be discovered and tested for their contribution to efficiency and effectiveness,
Building shared vision - unearthing share 'pictures of the future' that foster genuine commitment rather than compliance. As students of management will appreciate this is easier said that done. The writers of the mid 1980's were strong on need for vision in management. What they failed to appreciate and then to articulate was the fact that vision must be translated into reality. I believe that the principles of the learning organisation along with the values of TQM will help the articulation of the vision in practice.
Team Learning. We must learn from each other, our experiences, the experiences of others and to learn to work as a team. "Most management teams break down under pressure. The team may function quite well with routine issues. But when they confront complex issues that may be 'embarrassing or threatening...the teamness seems to go to pot" (Argyris 1990). What Senge warns of is the temptation of setting up teams and then saying 'there we have it'. The experiences of writers such as Tuckman (1965) whose wheel of development saw the development of the team as proceeding or being hindered through four stages forming, storming, norming and performing.
The wheel of development shows how team development can be hindered. But, we need to add to this the lessons from group theory on the potency of 'group think', group conformity and other psychological, sociological studies. These show the need for an appreciation of the problems that face us in team work.
what signs should we look for in the non learning organisation?
Having set out his 'competent technologies' Senge then examines in more detail what he terms 'learning disabilities'. These barriers to the learning organisation include
1 'I am my position - negative attribution, when asked what they do people describe what they do not the purpose of what they do
2 'The enemy is out there' - attribution theory - blame everyone except ourselves. similar to the wartime saying the enemy may be ourselves.
3 'The illusion of taking charge' - true proactiveness comes from seeing how we contribute to our own problems. Again there is a link with the ethos of TQM.
4 'The fixation of events' - we are conditioned to see lives as a series of events, and for every event there is a cause. What we do is to fix on events and to miss the obvious but not so apparent, gradual process of decline or change. This is a similar argument to that seen by strategic management writers on the subject of discontinuity. It creeps on us and permits those who develop 'niche markets' within our overall market to prosper before we realise what they are up to.
5 'The parable of the Boiled Frog' - corollary to the fixation of events cause. We are used to reacting to sudden changes in the environment but not to gradual ones.
6 "The delusion of learning from experience' - we learn best from experience but we never directly experience the consequences of our most important decisions (Senge 1994 p 23)
7 "The myth of the Management team' - main activity is maintaining the appearance of a cohesive team.
Criticism of Senge's approach
The work of Senge and others has been criticised by Garvin (1993) as being too abstract. According to Garvin the learning organisation of Senge leaves three critical issues un-resolved. These are:
For Senge the learning organisation is one:
..where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together. (Senge 1990 p 1)
What Garvin does is to make the relatively abstract approach of Senge more realistic and appropriate to the modern organisation.:
Most discussions of learning organizations finesse these issues. Their focus in high philosophy and grand themes. Their focus in high philosophy and grand themes, sweeping metaphors rather than the gritty details of practice. Three critical issues are left unresolved; yet each is essential for effective implementation. First is the question of meaning...Second is the question of management. Third is the question of measurement (Garvin 1993 p 80)
Thus, Garvin says that the learning organisation actually thinks and plans for the learning experience. It creates, acquires and transfers knowledge which modifies behaviour. These are essential pre requisites to learning and bring about new knowledge and insights. In addition, there is a need for changes in the way work is done in order to turn potential improvement into real improvement.
Garvin's definition of the learning organisation is therefore:
an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights. (Garvin 1993 p 80)
Garvin suggests that process is important "Without accompanying changes in the way that work gets done, only the potential for improvement exists." (Garvin 1993 p 80). Altering behaviour is a prime requirement of the learning organisation.
Garvin is critical of the many organisations, such as universities, that claim to be learning organisations but fail. As an instance he cites:
Total quality management ...is now taught at many business schools, yet the number using it to guide their own business making is very small Garvin 1993 p 80)
Skills of the learning organisation
Garvin goes on to examine the skills of the learning organisation:
Learning organizations are skilled at five main activities : systematic problem solving, experimentation with new approaches, learning from their own experiences and past history, learning from their experiences and practices of others, and transferring knowledge quickly and efficiently throughout the organization. (Garvin 1993 p 80)
Whilst Garvin states that many organizations behave in some of these areas it is a random rather than specific approach that most organisations adopt. What is needed is the creating systems and processes that support these activities and integrate them into the fabric of daily operations in companies can manage their learning most effectively. (Garvin 1993 p 81)
Systematic problem solvingrelies substantially on evidence. Much of this evidence is similar to that suggested in works on quality such as Deming, but also involves the more rigorous qualitative techniques such as reflection on practice and seeking validation of evidence through methodological triangulation As Garvin states we must continually ask "How do we know that's true!" (Garvin 1993 p 81) What is necessary is that the organisation is not controlled by gut facts and instinct but be verifiable data. This data is often obtained through systematic reflection. It is not sufficient to think about a situation or problem, what we must do is to think in a systematic and dialogic manner.
Speaking of experimentation Garvin tells us:
Whether they are demonstration projects like Copeland's or programs like Allegheney Lundlum's, all forms of experiment the same end : moving from superficial knowledge to deep understanding. At the simplest, the distinction is between things are done and knowing why they occur. (Garvin 1993 p
In the educational environment experimentation takes place all the time when we experiment with the curriculum. Experiential learning is based on the concept knowledge as being derived from and tested out on the experienced learner.
For Kolb "Learning is a process whereby knowledge is created transformation of experiences." (Kolb 1984 p 155) An essential for the organisation must develop expertise in evaluation of practice. Garvin mentions the fact that BP established what they termed a appraisal unit' to review projects, to write up case studies and to learn from these experiences. The comment of Garvin that "an unproduct occurs when something goes well, but nobody knows how or why" p 86) is intended to demonstrate the need for professional reflection.
The Kolbian Cycle can be shown in the form of a simple form.
Implement new strategy Concrete experience
Read, discuss, think and formulate
The learning cycle wants us to do something. We must reflect and question our actions to determine, in a logical and formal manner the success or otherwise of such actions. It is a means of learning from our successes and mistakes. It has the added advantage of seeing the positive aspects of mistakes. The group or individual needs concrete experience or evidence to evaluate. This is the second stage of the Kolbian cycle. After we have done what we set out to do we can move to the third stage which is to review, consider, consult on the performance, to evaluate and to determine the ways and means by which we will progress. Only then can we move to the next stage which is to try the new ideas out Then we do something, obtain concrete experience, read, discuss, think and formulate and then implement the new strategy.
Garvin warns of the failure to learn from the past and mentions:
"The Santayana Review" citing the famous philosopher George Santayana, who coined the phrase "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (Garvin 1993 p 85) Garvin refers to Maidique and Zirger (1985) who state that "In the simplest terms failure is the ultimate teacher". In like manner Peters and Waterman and others provide numerous examples of the learning opportunities to be derived from mistakes.
As a consequence the organisation needs to "periodically think about the past and learn from their mistakes" (Garvin 1993 p 85)
On the value of learning from past experiences
..of course, not all learning comes from reflection and self analysis. Sometimes the most powerful insights come from looking outside one's immediate environment to gain a new perspective. Enlightened managers know that even companies in completely different businesses can be fertile sources for creating thinking... Milliken calls the process S's, for "Steal Ideas Shamelessly" (Garvin 1993 p 86)
SIS or to use its morally acceptable term, benchmarking, is:
a disciplined process that begins with a thorough search to identify best practice organizations, continues with careful study of one's own practices and through systematic site visits and concludes with an analysis of results, development of recommendations and implementation. (Garvin 1993 p 86)
Other interesting management extracts
These snippets may be of interest to you in developing your understanding of the complexity of the management process and the value of studying real issues in order to further develop your understanding of the subject matter.
Original Objectives of McKinsey Organisation
constant contact with businessmen
Its getting tougher to create excellence. Industry is now characterised by turbulence, fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, more and more competition etc.
Attitudes that work against the creation of excellence include;
* short term orientation can strain executive action
* shallow thinking ; failure to produce new superior products over a period of time. (See "Innovation, the Attacker's Advantage" for an excellent account of this)
* short term solutions, or wallpapering over the cracks
Four Stages of Developing Strategy and Culture
1 Start Up : Originating strategy and culture
2 Growth : Holding strategy and culture together
3 Crisis : Radically altering strategy and culture
4 Evolution : Fine tuning strategy and culture
Job Enrichment at Traveler's Insurance
The purpose here was to improve the performance of employees, especially in what ere or were perceived to be dull or routine jobs.
There are five main parameters to be considered :
1 responsibility for work outcomes (autonomy)
2 feedback concerning performance
3 meaningfulness of work (task significance)
4 skill variety
5 task identity
Each of the factors is given a score on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is the highest)
Then we can calculate the Motivating Potential Score (MPS) by :
skill variety + task identity + task significance x autonomy x feedback
This formula when applied to Traveler's Insurance keyboard operators produced a score of 6.7. This must be compared with a maximum possible of 135.0!!
The individual enrichment levels for each factor were stated to be :
skill variety - none task identity - low task significance - low autonomy - low feedback - none
How did Traveler's Insurance enrich the jobs? (see Hiam 1990 p 238)
work was grouped into natural work units
some controlling and planning tasks were taken from supervisors and integrated
into keyboard jobs
keyboard punch operators were given access to customers ie given power to investigate errors
contact with clients increased feedback
plan own schedules
Results : Increased productivity up to 40% and decrease in absenteeism by 24%
in Hiam A(1990) The Vest Pocket CEO Englewood Cliffs NJ. Prentice Hall p 235
Stanford Stress Analysis
Ray M and Myers R (1987) Creativity in Business Doubleday
Purpose to identify and deal with sources of stress. The procedure is to :
1 list individual issues that cause stress
list from trivial to complex
personal and work related (confidentiality)
2 identify avoidable stress review first list and mark those that you have direct control over
make a new list of avoidable stress causes and strategies for removing them
3 Identify stresses that might be avoidable
lack of understanding of inter personal conflicts often add to stress score
4 list the remaining stresses - those that are unavoidable
Ray and Myers suggest that acceptance of problem will tend to reduce the stress that ensures from fighting the problem
Garvin's Eight Dimensions of Quality
Garvin D (1987) 'Competing on the Eight Dimensions of Quality' Harvard Business Review November - December 1987 pp 107 - 109
The first stage is to describe and measure product or services quality on each of the following dimensions :
Performance (primary operating characteristics such as TV sound and picture clarity, good reception)
Features (supplemental characteristics - airlines free drinks)
Reliability (probability of failure cars % breakdowns in first year)
Conformance ( consistency with specification - number of mistakes per page)
Durability (expected product life)
Serviceability (ease, cost of repair and minimising of downtime)
Aesthetics ( pleasing product experience)
Perceived quality (indirect evidence re quality - Marks and Spencer)
From this list we can develop a SWOT analysis for our organisation as well as for competitors. When this has been done we an then set about determining remedial strategies.
McKinley Strategy Failure Checklist
Developed by Leol Bleeke of McKinsey and Company this checklist sees five common failures in the process of strategic planning. These are
1 Focus is too much on where to compete and not on the how's of competing.
2 Low emphasis on uniqueness and adaptability. In many ways this is about differentiation i.e. how do we persuade a customer to purchase our product rather than that of another.
3 Low emphasis on when to compete. When a company enters the market is emphasised to the detriment of where and how.
4 Focus on firms and competitors rather than individuals. Knowing the people helps us understand competitors.
5 Common performance measures. We should measure performance according to the measures that are applicable to our specific strategy.
Deal T and Kennedy A (1988 pp 159 - 161) Corporate Cultures Harmondsworth Penguin state that there only five reasons for significantly altering company culture
1 Where the environment is undergoing fundamental change, and the company has always been highly value driven
2 When the industry is highly competitive and the environment changes quickly
3 When the company is mediocre or worse
4 When the company is truly at the threshold of becoming a large corporation
5 When companies are growing very rapidly
Skills of the Effective Leader
1 know yourself
2 Know your situation
3 Select management styles which are appropriate to the situation
4 Satisfy task needs
5 Satisfy team needs
6 Satisfy individual needs
from Armstrong M (1990) How To Be An Even Better Manger London Kogan Page p 177
Ingredients of Excellence
1 Strategy - planning to achieve objectives
7 Superordinate goals - guiding values
From Pascale R and Athos A (1982) The Art of Japanese Management London Penguin pp 80 - 81
Topics for discussion
The quotes are intended to make us visualise the whole topic area being discussed before we can give our opinion on the comment. This ought to be a valuable revision method.
1 Planning is really management's concern that it has all the quantitative information it needs. When this quantitative information is in its hands it can then properly plan.
2 "Managers are managers and leaders are leaders" Discuss
3 Managerial motivation would increase if only managers were given the same levels of authority as responsibility
4 The management theorist might say that the actual organization structure found in a company reflects the often inadequate means of control in the company.
5 Most managers complain that they cannot plan or even learn about planning, Swot analysis etc. as their normal job of managing and looking after people takes all of their working and much of their private time.
6 Motivation is making everyone feel a winner. Discuss
7 Employees complain that they give effort, and in their view an inadequate management force obstructs effort.
8 It is of no value for the student of management to have to compare the means of discovering the effectiveness of a bank and a local authority, because the two are so vastly different in structure and objective.
9 Employees make great play of the fact that management know little about the communication process. They feel that management would learn much from the workings of the horizontal and grapevine means of communicating.
10 Management theorists overcomplicate the differences between staff and line specialists
11 Conflict in an organisation must be avoided at all cost
12 In planning, companies are expected to know what business they are in. As so many find it difficult to answer this opening question what chance have they in answering the second question, what business should we be in; and dealing with the subsequent planning process.
13 Small companies are restricted by their size from enjoying the benefits of the whole range of management benefits
14 The advantages of decentralisation are a financial illusion as the cost of the former centralised function is now spread amongst many subsidiaries rather than being borne by Head Office
15 The orthodox management textbook dealing with style and contingency theories in the traditional way, is of more value to the student of leadership, than the writings on MBWA and visible leadership.
16 Leadership involves the obligation to use managerial power in a moral manner
17 Employees put most of their energy into resisting change
18 Most of us are in favour of progress so long as it does not involve change (Ray Procter)
19 The speed with which innovation takes place in the 1990's requires managers to continually revise their strategic plans or thinking?
20 Planning from top down is doomed to fail. Comment
Copyright : Stephen John B Sc (Econ); M Sc; M Ed; MBA; M Phil; FIPD
Updated December 1998
Go to, or return to Management Studies Content Page
Return to Stephen John Homepage
Go to Personnel Practice page for further management related material