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How an Efficient Manager Can Lead to the Success of a Company

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Mullins (2010; p.475) suggests an effective manager is someone who considers the “outputs of a job” such as “increasing profitability, meeting and exceeding objectives of the business”. They also help to plan, coordinate, and control the organisation and use resources effectively in order to achieve and exceed the objectives which were set.

It can be understood that an effective manager can contribute to the success of an organisation. There are various theorists such as Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol, Henry Mintzberg and Rosemary Stewart who have researched and analysed the roles and practices of different managers and effective management styles from several organisations, which have contributed to the success of an organisation. However, it is important to highlight that these theorists have contrasting perspectives on what contributes to an effective manager.

Mullins (2010) indicates the classical approach to management states that organisations have a clear formal structure where managers at the top of the hierarchy have a clear chain of command to the bottom of the organisation. Taylor developed the scientific view of management where he used the classical approach to look at manager’s roles and how managers can become more effective in the organisation.

Bahnisch (2000) states that Taylor wanted to find a scientific method which would assist managers to make their organisations run more effectively. He conducted a study at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, with a group of seventy five workers and observed the workers were loading twelve and a half tons per day. Taylor then questioned a worker and found out that he placed a high value on money and had limited mental ability, hence he was able to follow simple instructions and would not argue back. Mullins (2010) points out that Taylor then concluded that money was a significant incentive to workers and workers could follow simple basic instructions. This led him to develop and construct an alternative method on how the workers carried out their work. After implementing his ideas, the results were conclusive, whereby the worker had increased his output to forty seven and a half tons per day. This was a significant increase in output of thirty five extra tons.

Connor (1996) highlights Taylor achieved this due to the reconstruction of the design on how managers would manage and control their workers. Taylor linked the wages of the workers to the output of the work they produced, since he found that workers placed high value on money. The higher the output the workers produced the higher the increase in wage. This was seen in the workers’ wages per day as they increased by 60% from $1.15 to $1.85 due to the increase in output they produced. (Connor 1996 cited by Bahnisch 2000).

Blake and Moseley (2011) stated Taylor also changed how managers would manage, he stated that effective managers were superior to their workforce and their role was to think and plan for the organisation. He broke down workers jobs into minimum components due to the fact that he believed workers would be best suited to carry out simple and easy tasks. These changes helped to create a more efficient and effective workforce, as the breakdown of larger tasks into easier manageable tasks helped to increase output at a faster rate. Therefore increasing production and benefiting from the maximum output of the worker would help benefit the organisation.

Therefore according to Taylor it can be perceived that an effective manager is a manager who would use and apply his concept of scientific management to the workforce, as the methods and techniques used by Taylor clearly demonstrate how to ensure the maximum productivity and efficiency of the workforce.

There are many strengths and examples of Taylor’s concept of scientific management. One example is that of significant cost savings due to a fall in labour costs, as output was rising per worker. Hence fewer employees would be needed, leading to increase in profits. Crainer (2003) states the labour costs fell from $10,299 to $6950 at the Watertown Arsenal as a consequence of implementing Taylor’s ideas. Furthermore Emerson (1911 cited by Wren 2011) claimed that US railroads would be saving “$1 million a day if they adopted scientific management” (Wren 2011; p.7). This indicates there were significant cost savings which would result in a higher net profit.

Moreover, Roh (2012) looked at how scientific management helped develop and improve other countries across the world; he found that in Japan, Japanese manufactures had integrated scientific management techniques which enabled them to improve efficiency leading to substantial rises in profits.

Furthermore, Mullins (2010) states the example of Fordism, whereby the key concepts of Taylor’s scientific management were applied and used. Henri Ford invented Fordism, which consisted of the assembly line which allowed mass production to take place. This resulted in decreased unit costs, leading to an increase in profits. Various other manufactures have implemented this concept which has helped to lower costs of goods, hence benefiting customers. Therefore it is evident how Taylor’s model of scientific management has helped managers become more effective in their organisation, which has led to the success of the organisation.

However there are various criticisms of Taylor’s scientific management. Blake and Moseley (2010; p.4) suggests that Taylor’s view on motivation was too simplistic as he assumed all employees were motivated “through monetary incentives” since there are other various motivational factors. As Zuffo (2011) stated that Mayo found from his Hawthorne experiment, workers had social needs which managers should also consider. However Taylor ignores these social needs and focuses on the monetary incentives of motivation.

Additionally Marshall (1919 cited by Caladari) states another criticism which is the de skilling and loss of creativity of workers. This is due to the repetitive tasks which workers carried, which led to a fall in creativity and de skilled the workforce. This may lead to significant problems in the long term, as if workers become deskilled and creativity is lost, new ideas would be limited and costs would increase if the workforce has to move to a different production line or organisation.

Henri Fayol (1916) also looked at managerial activity and concluded that it can be divided into “five elements of managerial work as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling”. Therefore according to Fayol, these are the primary elements which managers carry out in the day to day running’s of the organisation. (Henri Fayol 1916 cited by Armstrong 2009; p18)

Fayol also outlined “fourteen principles designed to guide the successful manager.” (Parker and Ritson 2005; p.2) These were “division of work; authority and responsibility; discipline; unity of command; unity of direction; subordination of individual interest to general interest; remuneration of employees; centralisation; the scalar chain; order; equity; stability of personnel; initiative; esprit de corps.” (Crainer 2003; p. 2)

Crainer (2003) suggests the fourteen principal’s help to understand the overview of manager’s roles and by ensuring the five elements were successfully implemented by managers, it would help managers to be more effective in their work and ensure a greater understating of their required role.

Armstrong (2009) suggested that there are various strengths of Fayol’s research which are the elements that Fayol highlighted, would be carried out by most managers at some point of their day. Moreover Fayol helps to give a general overview and understanding of management. Arguably, there are several drawbacks on Fayol’s research. Stewart (1967) suggests that Fayol’s elements of management are vague and general in which can be “universally valid” therefore making them less reliable, as in real life all managers would normally carry out these elements therefore just by carrying out these roles would not make an effective manager. (Stewart 1967 cited by Armstrong 2009; p.18)

Therefore it can been seen how Fayol’s research contrasts to Taylors as Fayol is looking “top down perspective” whereas Taylor is the opposite from “bottom to up”. Brunson (2008, p.31) Although they both suggest what effective managers are required to complete, their interpretations and conclusions contrast.

In contrast to Taylors and Fayol’s work, Rosemary Stewart also looked at mangers roles however her views were different. As Mullins (2010) points out Taylor and Fayol looked at management in a broad overview way. Stewart argues it is difficult to make generalisations on managers, as all managers roles are different and vary depending on the organisation and nature of the business. Quarterly (1976) suggests this can be seen from Stewart’s study of one hundred and sixty managers, in where she observed “what managers actually do” which aided her to gain a deeper understanding of manager’s role. (Trapp, 1997) Armstrong (2005; p.21) suggests Stewart found that the managers work was “fragmented” whereby “managers averaged only nine periods of 30 minutes or more without interruption”. This shows it is difficult to view effective management from one perspective as all managers roles vary from another.

Lowe (2003) states that from Stewart’s findings there are three main categories which impacts and influences manager’s roles these are demands, constraints and choices. Mullins proposes (2010) demands were the tasks which were required for a manager to complete. Constraints were the restrictions which managers had to deal with, such as their resources. Choices were the opportunities which managers would be able to select. These categories vary between all managers and therefore influence the effectiveness of a manager.

Stewarts study has various strengths as the work helped to produce rich empirical data helping her to gain a detailed understanding and analysis of mangers role. In comparison to Taylor’s study, Stewart’s study has a larger sample size in which managers from different areas where studied. Therefore it is easier to generalise this study to the wider perspective. However one weaknesses of Stewart’s research is that Stewart’s research can be considered time bound as, managers today can easily communicate with their employees or subordinates via email or phone, compared to the past. Hence reducing the need for managers to leave their work and deal with other matters.

Similarly to Stewarts work Henry Mintzberg also looked manager’s role and activities. Mount and Bartlett (1999) states his study was based on an observation of five chief executives, like Stewart he also found that manager’s work was highly fragmented, varied and was high paced. Mintzberg (1975; p.4) stated that “Half the activities engaged in by the five chief executives of my study lasted less than nine minutes.” This demonstrates how fast managers carried out their tasks due to time constraints and how fragmented their work was.

Furthermore Mintzberg (1975; p.6) stated how a “managers job can be described in terms of various roles” in which he suggested ten different roles which fitted into three categories. Interpersonal roles, these were the relations which a manager had to other people within the organisation. Informational roles, these were roles of being able to communicate to members of the organisation. Decisional roles, these were the roles of which the manager was able to make such as strategic or tactical decisions. Mintzberg stated that managers are expected to carry out these roles and an effective manager is able to understand what is required from these roles and carry them out successfully.

There are various strengths of Mintzberg research, as by conducting an observation; it allowed Mintzberg to exactly see what managers were doing and their roles. This helped provide rich primary data, which helped Mintzberg to analyse and draw conclusions upon. Also, Chareanpunsirikul and Wood (2002; p.5) replicated Mintzberg study in Thailand and established that the findings were similar to Mintzberg, where by “the work of a hotel general manager involves brevity, variety and fragmentation” This illustrates Mintzberg’s study can be applied to different cultures, which helps to make his study easier to generalise. However Martinko et al (1985) criticise that Mintzberg lacks reliability as the sample size was only five. Furthermore Mintzberg uses five chief executives; therefore it can be argued that they would have different roles and jobs compared to a traditional manager.

Additionally it is problematic to understand the term “success of an organisation” as it is difficult to measure and from whose perspective. As success of an organisation is dependent upon whom it is being measured by e.g. the shareholders view on success is likely to contrast the communities or employees view on success. Furthermore Grönroos (1994) and Martin (1995) suggests that an effective manager’s roles are changing and they have a limited impact upon the success of an organisation. This is due to markets now becoming more customer and service orientated whereby customer service and high quality products are highly regarded compared to traditional business. Therefore there other important factors which impact the success of the organisation.

In conclusion, various theorists have presented their ideas on what an effective manager is, how they become effective and their importance to the success of an organisation, as seen from Taylors and Fayol’s research. However the research of Stewart and Mintzberg illustrates how organisations and markets have evolved which has led to changes in manager’s roles and it is these roles which the manager performs and how they perform them influences the effectiveness of the manager. However it is important to consider how and from whose perspective is success being considered from as this is dependent on if an effective manager leads success to an organisation.

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