10One best way to manage
Essay on “Is there only one best way to manage?”
There have been varied arguments, discussions and debates regarding the question of whether there is one best way of managing an organization. Whereas many people belief that there is one best way of managing an organization, quite a good number of scholars believe that the concept is classical and that it was only applicable in the ancient times, the times of Max Webber and Fredrick Taylor. These two theorists believed that an organization can be managed by only one way, if structures are bureaucratic and that there is corporation between management and the employees (van der Voet, 2014). However, in the modern business world, there is no one best way of managing an organization due to the nature of the business environment. The business environment is turning out to be competitive and experiencing a high degree of dynamism. The change in the business environment, ranging from technological to social and political impact on the effectiveness and as well as organizational structures. In fact, according to the view of contingency theory, stabilization of the business environment encourages standardization, specialization and formalization, which contributes to improvement of organizational efficiency (Madanipour, 2010). Undertaking environmental analysis to obtain certainty and predictability paves way for adoption and implementation of policies that ensure effective execution of operations, hence providing solutions to business problems. Similarly, forms of instability in the business environment necessitate the establishment of organic structures in the organization which lead to decentralization in order to attain flexibility and adaptability. This essay, therefore aims at arguing out whether there is one best way of managing an organization or not.
One best way to manage
People tend to believe that there is “one best way” of managing, or rather leading people. This notion, I would say, is classical and way far from modernization (Timiyo, 2014). The reason as to why people view the management aspect of employees or people being easy is because they view an organization as being affected by only factor. However, this is not the case because operations in the business environment are affected by a number of factors, ranging from internal, which are within the control of an organization, to external factors, factors which are said to be beyond the control of an organization (van der Voet, 2014). Believing that there is one best way of managing an organization is risky, leave alone the fact that it comes with negative consequences should the organization adopt this management point of view. Adopting this management point of view will deter the organization from considering factors affecting the performance of the organization, often, from both the internal and external environments.
One proponent of this concept was Max Webber, who advocated for the bureaucratic theory of management. Bureaucratic management refers to an organizational system whose basis is on clearly identified levels of management and roles in order to achieve high levels of efficiency and effectiveness. According to him, organizations are subdivided into hierarchies’ in order to develop high levels of effectiveness and efficiency (Latfullin, 2016). In fact, Max Weber made a suggestion that organizations should establish procedures of performing its tasks. According to Webber, bureaucracy is a form of administrative and organizational structure, whose development is made through rational legal authority (Latfullin, 2016).
Fredrick Taylor, being the proponent of scientific management, sought to make a replacement of management “by rule of thumb” with mechanisms leading to “the best one way” (Latfullin, 2016). According to Taylor, workers should be adequately trained in “one best practice”, in order to eliminate a situation where people bring in their personal discretions into their jobs. Additionally, Taylor believed that corporation would develop between the workers and the management, which would ensure that the “one best practice” is adhered to by the workers. Consequently, according to Taylor, the corporation would lead to reduced workload because work would be shared between the management and the employees or the workers, with the management executing instructions and the employees executing labor, each group doing what’s best for them (Latfullin, 2016).
Therefore, there is only one best way of managing an organization if, and only if, the environment remains static and doesn’t change. Similarly, if corporation between the management and the employee would be strengthened, with each group performing what is best for them, then, managing an organization in one best way would be possible.
No one best way to manage
According to Thompson and Vecchio (2009), management of people by very effective and efficient leaders is situational, and therefore there is no best way of managing people. Effective leaders have a form of adaptation, where they factor in the kind of level of development of the people they manage. According to the depiction found in “The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Situational Leadership II Model, four styles of leadership are found, each representing various combinations of directive behaviours of leaders from which to make a selection for any different situation (Thompson and Vecchio, 2009). Directive leadership behaviour refers to a situation where leaders engage in a one-way form of communication, clearly indicating what employees should do, where they are supposed to do it, when they are to do it and how they are to do it whilst closely monitoring their performance (Thompson and Vecchio, 2009).
SWOT analysis is a tool that is used to examine an organizations internal environment, comprising of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (Bull et al., 2016). An organization’s strength refers to factors that have enabled the organization to perform exceptionally well in the marketplace, for instance the use of latest technology. Weaknesses are those factors that are likely to derail the performance of an organization in the marketplace. Examples include the organization’s tendency to use technologically dilapidated machines. Opportunities are new initiatives which should be capitalized in order to enjoy maximum competitive advantage, for instance, an organization expanding its operations. Threats refer to factors that are likely to negatively affect an organizations performance in the marketplace, for instance, the entrance of a new competitor (Bull et al., 2016).
The necessity to undertake internal environmental analysis like SWOT indicates that there is no best way to manage or lead in an organization. The form of management or leadership is highly dependent on the nature of the environment. An organization should firstly identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and tailor its management or leadership style according to the factors prevailing in the business environment
PESTEL model is a tool that is used to undertake an analysis of the external environment, an environment whose impacts is beyond the control of an organization (Gupta, 2013). The model requires that an organization analyze its macro-economic factors, which include Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and legal factors. These factors, according to Gupta (2013), are way beyond the control of the organization. Political factors generally refer to the degree of government intervention in the economy. They include factors like political instability and tax regulations. Economic factors influence the manner in which an organization does business, thereby impacting on its profitability. They include variables like interest rates, exchange rates and inflation. Social factors, commonly known as socio-cultural factors, refer to beliefs and attitudes held by a community and the general population (Gupta, 2013). They include population growth rate, population age distribution and other demographic factors. Technological factors refer to factors affecting or impacting on how an organization should produce and distribute its goods. They include changes in technology.
Environmental factors refer to how organization impacts on the environment, through its business operations. Identification of such factors is very important since the conservation of the environment is paramount (Gupta, 2013). Legal factors refer to the ethical standards that should be observed by producers of goods and services. They include observation of advertising standards and observation of customer rights (Gupta, 2013).
On the question of whether there is one best way to manage, the analysis of the external environment using the PESTEL model proves that the management of an organization is situational, and that there is no best way to manage. The management or leadership style to be implemented is dependent on the factors highlighted in the PESTEL model.
A team, according to McAtavey and Nikolovska (2010), is a group of people, who have come together to share a common focus in order to achieve a common goal. Working as a team is important in an organization since it leads to the achievement of the organization’s objectives. Managing a team is an easy, yet a complex task. Its complexity is due to the fact that a team is made up of different people, with varied beliefs and ideas. This necessitates that different concepts in management should be used in order to accommodate teaming in an organization. Therefore, there is no best way of managing an organization, because management of an organization is sort of situational.
How they relate
PESTEL analysis and SWOT analysis are related in that both involve the analysis of business environments. Whereas PESTEL deals with the analysis of the external environment, SWOT deals with the analysis of the internal environment. Both can’t be undertaken without establishment of a clear organizational structure and the organization structures working as a team.
Competition in today’s business environment is stiff, and to survive, there must be adoption and implementation of both good and excellent management and leadership skills; otherwise an organization will be outdone by competitors (Huang et al., 2015). However, to succeed in effective management and leadership, and organization must undertake a critical analysis of factors affecting it both internally and externally. Though the forces of the external environment are beyond the control of the organization, its identification is worth knowing. It is evident from the essay, therefore that in today’s dynamic business world, management is situational, and therefore, there is no one best way of managing an organization.
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