Factors Influencing Managers’ Styles of Management

It has been specified by Roskin (1989: p.19) that there is a well-established perspective concerning the factors on which the success of management styles relies on, which are as follows:

• the individual personality of the manager himself (Trait theory revisited);

• the individual followers, the kind of people they are and the kind of work they do, and

• the particular situation and circumstances on any given day or hour (Owens, 1973 cited in Roskin, 1989).

 

Morden (2004) identifies these factors as ‘determinant variables’, which are illustrated below:

Occupational category and level in the hierarchy – The same supervision principle does not apply to all level of employees. Management and professional level employees are expected to be treated in a different way from operational and lower level employees. Denis et al. (1991) point out that professional and managerial employees enjoy significant autonomy in their works because they are experts in their field whereas manual and clerical workers are directly supervised by the first line managers because the works are highly simple in nature and standardized (Mintzberg, 1979, 1983). For instance, in universities, consulting firms, law firms, architectural firms etc., management and professional employees have the freedom of working with their own initiatives where the works are not directly supervised but the supervision and direction situation is vice versa for manual and clerical employees (Begin, 1991).

Structure of the Organization – Harte (1997) stated that the function of an organization structure is to ensure that the performance of employees is steered directly or indirectly towards achieving the organizational purpose. Organizational structure depicts the skeleton of an organization where employees get a clear view of who they report to, their positions within the organizations, and what they will be doing, how and when (Daft, 2001; van Aart et al., 2004). Bower (2003 cited in Avdelidou-Fischer 2007) indicates that the behavior, performance, job satisfaction, motivation, passion for work, and morale of the employees of an organization are related to how the organization is structured. For example, employees are powerless and not permitted to exercise ideas in a highly centralized bureaucratic structure because of the rigidness in the structure of the organization where the flow of authority is top down (Hoy et al., 1983; Daft, 2001), which may not serve the purpose of the organizations (Tiernan et al., 2002) as it is pointed out that organizational efficacy counts on how fittingly the organization is structured (Ensign, 1998), which raise the question of to what extent management style in that organization is welcoming and responsive to its employees (Morden, 2004). It is very likely that problem may arise if the structure is not properly designed, which will result in a dysfunctional style of management (Harte, 1997).

Inherent structure of the job – Another determinant of Management Style is the inherent structure of the job. Mintzberg (1980, p.322) identifies five coordinating mechanisms (mutual adjustment, direct supervision, standardization of work processes, standardization of skills and standardization of output), which raise the issue of to what extent the jobs are structured and thus coordinated. For example, in bureaucratic organization (mechanistic), jobs are highly structured and they are coordinated through direct supervision by managers. McConnell (1993) indicates that jobs vary in nature and different jobs are structured on the basis of what is required to perform in the job, which brings the issues like flexibility, autonomy or rigidity associated with the very nature of the jobs. As an example, he pointed out the instance of food tray assembly where the job of the service person is repetitive that is well instructed and because of the inherent structure of the job (highly structured), employees are little or not at all empowered to perform their jobs (Grand et al., 1994). Moreover, as the jobs are highly formalized in nature that provide an indication of how, where and by whom tasks will be accomplished (Fredrickson, 1986), this dictates little or no autonomy from the part of the management in employee treatment (Segal-Horn, 1998; Skrtic, 1995 cited in Tomlinson, 1995). On the other hand, jobs, which are highly complex and specialized in nature, are least formalized and require experts people to perform and to get the job done where they enjoy greater autonomy in accomplishing the job (Mintzberg, 1979, 1983) due to the provision of exercising creative practices and flexibility (Lund, 2003).

Management behavior and the character of hierarchy – It has been specified by Drucker (2007: p.85) that

… What the “boss” does and says, his most casual remarks, habits, even mannerisms, tend to appear to subordinates as calculated, planned, and meaningful. All you ever hear around the place is human-relations talk.

This means that the effectiveness of management in a business relies on to what extent the management is able to deal with its people and to make a good relationship with different levels of employees (Maznevski and DiStefano, 2006). They pointed out that management hierarchy determines the kind of relationship that will be existed among the different levels of management. Mullins (2007) pointed out that management hierarchy creates divisions between management and subordinates and within different ranks of management where distinct levels of authority are visible. Maznevski and DiStefano (2006) indicate that the flexibility or rigidness in management behavior is determined by the power relations within the management hierarchy as it is specified that those positioned higher in the hierarchy hold more power than those positioned below, which shape management behavior (Mullins, 2007). According to Fox (1971), a defined and predictable blueprint of behavior enforced on the subordinates pose various problems. For example, the author pointed out that if the assumption of the management at higher level in the hierarchy is negative, hold the middle level management strictly responsible for whatever mistakes happened within their area and their behavior is exposed in a disapproving way, it is not unlikely that the middle level will, in the same way, try to strictly control the behavior of their subordinates to reduce the possibility of happening the mistakes and rules and regulations will be in force severely to mitigate the incident and unforeseen event. However, it is indicated by Fox (1971) that such behavior of the top level management is regulated and is closely supervised by the authority to whom the top management is accountable. This is evident in case of divisional organizational structure where the performance of each division is monitored by a central authority (Kagono et al., 1985 cited in Itoh, 2003). Pitagorsky (2007) points out that the barrier to effective performance is the lack of an appropriate management style associated with the place in the hierarchy.

Organizational and National culture – National culture has an incisive impact in shaping people’s perception, thinking, communication and the way of doing things, which differ from nation to nation. People of a particular nation do develop their awareness, insights, beliefs and values from their own culture (Hofstede and Hofstede, 2005). According to Trice and Beyer (1993), culture is a mixture of rules, principles, views, values and ethics, which are gradually embedded in people’s behavior of that organization or the nation and are shared. Thomas (2008) compares national culture and organizational culture. According to him (p. 41), national culture is

… shared meanings, unconditional relationship, born into it, and totally immersed whereas organizational culture is shared behaviors, conditional relationship, socialized into it and partly involved.

Pothukuchi et al. (2002: 244-245) point out that

… although organizational and national cultures have been regarded as separate constructs, it is also widely accepted that organizational culture is nested in national culture.

Robbins (2003) points out that the organizational culture is the outcome of the philosophy and thinking of the organizations’ owners, that is, in what way the owners think members of an organization should act and behave. According to Pheysey (1993), organization culture is how things are done in an organizational setting, that is, the way members of an organization think, perceive, communicate, act and behave within an organizational setting, which Modern (2004) stipulates as the attributes that characterize the management style. For example, if managers of an organization expect that employees will act and perform in the way they are instructed, an autocratic style of management is evident within that organization (Brooks, 2006). Again, in power culture, which emphasize the features of hierarchical organizational culture (Harrison, 1987) where power of manager plays a significant role in the accomplishment of tasks (Handy, 1993), an authoritative or autocratic style of management is evident within that organization (Lippitt and White, 1958; Likert, 1962 cited in Bititci et al., 2004).

 

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Posted by: Farid Ahmed

 

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