The Individual in the Multitude: Debunking Management Follies and Unleashing Human Capabilities
Business proprietors and Management are major impediments to change and adoption of Management 2.0. Both prefer to control work and employees in multitudes rather than differentiated individuals that know their value and level of contribution. The future empowers individuals and weaken management grip when work is organised through equal partnerships and transient associations. Management 2.0 will unleash capabilities when individual employees within the multitude are recognised and freed through technology use as in virtual organisations. Commitment beyond current project will depend on the successes and relevance of the proven conglomeration of ideas in the industry or environmental context.
Proprietors and Management are the weakest links in Management 2.0 implementation particularly the virtual firm concept. Organisational control models originating from the traditional hierarchies are no longer relevant in democratic and transparent web technology backed virtual business models. The following issues need highlighting:
- The guidance from corporate law has over-emphasised effectiveness of current organisations and control measures, restricting formation and experimentation with newer models/methods of getting work done. Should corporate law be changed to facilitate new responsibilities and accountabilities beyond the current standardised version which recognises owners and delegated management?
- Despite highlighted successes in web-based technology input in various organisations, owners are still sceptical of losing grip on the means of production.
- Management has already noticed effectiveness of employees when given opportunities for self-leadership (Sila, et al, 2003), but are unlikely to give in through facilitative practices because its radicalism will restrict managers’ future involvement in the same capacity. Who will sponsor the change and with what coalitions?
- Management inherently believes has skills and mandate to lead others in making work happen. It will lose its job relevance and span of control as some paid for management skills become obsolete if web-based technologies are holistically adopted. Management is a willing accomplice to hiding owner’s unwillingness to try changes. Will management voluntarily reconfigure organisations when they are likely to lose jobs, influence and status?
- Like Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, technology in various formats has been advantageously used by management and owners to monitor work and workers. The future now will equip every organisational participant with information that was previously denied and power-shifts put everyone under scrutiny. What other control mechanism are available to monitor organisational participants if they all have autonomy and tower positions?
- Management is not prepared to evolve into other roles with activities determined bottom-up. Probably the bottom employees will find its ineffectiveness or bottle-necking practices.
- Are all managers ready for change and willing to assist employees to reach their potential in self-managed or autonomous roles?
- Management and employees do not trust each other. Is the future threatening to debunk management performance credits or the ‘smoke-screen’ management has been casting in organisations?
- Diversity is shifting from personal differences to variance of decision inputs or solution generation. The shift is from an unclear zone of diversity management into another hazy level in web-based technology, hiding personnel or physical contact and yet promoting heterogeneous ideas. Are employees ready to take lead roles in self-determination?
Can organisations outsource management functions to the employees particularly in self managing teams? Yes they can and should; only after:
Level 1 – ‘Owners that Lobby’
- Ownership must reconfigure the traditional agency theory plagued with restrictions and management self-interest deviations. Radical organisations that are market oriented should look for working partners, not employees and managers to achieve future growth or survival objectives. Roles should be clarified in new light of the technological demands that value individual creativity. Instituted work groups and processes will form new cultures that will ‘self-shape’ into flexible practices for the future.
- Redesign business structure through organisational architecture. Cut control powers held by managers and replace it with democratic teams and self-management in flatter organisations. Interested and informed individual members will have higher creativity and are motivated to learn higher level roles (voluntary behaviour) that facilitate and enhance performance.
- Owners through visionary leadership should become sponsors and change facilitators. Ordinary management might stuff it for own good!
Level 2 – ‘Selfless Managers’
- The Panopticon is no-longer the ideal solution for monitoring and control. Trust and genuine empowerment will revive or grow businesses. Workers take responsibility or institutionalise controls if the cause is identifiable with them. Involvement and committed behaviours will be produced by self-leadership; subsequently performance beyond compliance is obtained (Drucker, 1997). Humanistic managers are a necessary ingredient!
- Changed incentives and rewards. Rewards must reflect contributions as in value generation, transparently viewed. Use of inventor/developer contracts as currently used by software designers is a classic functional example recognising talent out of multitudes.Definitive KPIs should be reflective of creativity input.
- Regardless of location, interested individuals with relevant contributions should be linked through web-sourcing. Generated designs of products/services are true reflections of interacting relationships of democratic diversity.
Level 3 – Workers with ‘Super-vision’
- If financial instruments can be sourced from various sources for organisations (e.g. stock exchange and regulated selling of shares), then ideas/creative solutions should be acquired in the same manner. The web then through web-sourcing can provide an idea repository where participants in organisations or across industries find each other and contract to advance common goals. Democracy and distributive justice will be enhanced by transparency and comparisons against competitors for held knowledge and information exchanges (Briner, et al, 2011). Enthusiastic workers should occupy the central stage where innovative ideas are administered as instruments enhancing allocation/efficiency for public acquisition.
- Employees benefit by accepting roles in diverse teams and leverage their strengths in actual production and technical involvement closer to the customers. Competency development and continuous learning will prepare for higher order roles (Pfeffer, 2005). Management 2.0 will see employees taking charge of their work through training and support activities (e.g. use of strength based coaching).
- Workers will be closer to both proprietors’ demands and customer/markets expectations. Products/service offering will be more accurate and responsive. Effectiveness. However, currently management occupies a central role with excessive influence that hinders creativity, imagination and radicalism!
- Productivity will increase through reduced duplication and growth of workers’ intrinsic motivation. Experimentation and a learning culture will grow.
- Management numbers will be reduced yet output increases through cut costs of man management, bureaucracy, and reduced general interferences currently seen in management over-bearing, procrastination and egos.
- New businesses will simulate short term, self-managing project structures.
- Institute dialogue; depending with established relations, use outsiders or neutral researchers to ascertain prevailing values, interests and or divergent expectations. Accept individual member’s sources of intrinsic motivation.
- Develop employees’ competencies relevant to future and current organisations’ environment, exceeding current job tasks specificities.
- Establish visible leadership that value collaboration and idea diversity.
- Learn technology, particularly web-based applications.
- Acknowledge, codify, and celebrate employees’ contributions and start organisational ‘idea repositories’.
- Owners must increase their knowledge and participation in business and avoid over reliance on management.
- Organisations must empower both management and employees through roles reconfiguration. Engage in experimentation using delegation and self-management of cross functional teams.
- Reduce bureaucratic practices and 'off-load' infringing or idle managers.
- Massey University, New Zealand: Leadership & People
- Huge applause for Dr B. Frey