To survive and succeed, modern businesses require a brand-new management style. And we have evidence of that if we look at historical changes and improvements in ways of management from Taylor to Fayol to Weber who pioneered the theory of management in the industrial era.
Today, our society stands on the edge of the new era and the digital revolution when the modern economy is being jeopardized by the post-pandemic recession that propels the need to reassess the managerial practice of the past. Although, I would argue with the notion that the new management should be customer-driven. Indeed, the entire organization’s mission should be customer-driven, but the management should be internal, and worker-driven.
Historically the hierarchy of management was responsible for different aspects of the organizational lifespan: top managers set strategies, middle managers implement those strategies, and frontline managers coordinate workers - all of them guided by the mission set from the top. However, this structure is inherited from the past when there was a need for this division of managerial labour. Today, distributed remote work and prevailing service and knowledge economies require different ways of setting organizational goals and reaching them.
For example, strategies can no longer be set from the top without involving frontline managers and, what’s even more important - workers - those employees who know customers best. And workers can no longer be responsible for a small set of a limited number of actions, treated like cogs in the wheels. Workers act as trusted experts in their field, generalists rather than specialists, supplied by a knowledge base in various merging areas of their expertise. Now more than ever, workers play the role of the backbone of the organization, delivering the products and services on the market. They are allocated across the globe, not tied to their physical locations, like workers of the past to machinery in factories, hence they need new ways of managing. Workers are becoming greater contributors to the organization’s internal processes as well as to delivering value to customers, thus requiring managers to be a bridge between the strategy and the tactics.
I envision the new layer of managers to be greatly reduced in the number of employees in order to provide more efficient work as there's less need to supervise each worker. Rather, there's a need to empower groups of workers and enable them to deliver their best work. Modern management functions toward workers in the way companies act toward customers, both trying to deliver values: companies to customers, and managers to workers. New management is about fostering an equitable, diverse and just working environment. It’s about designing processes that encourage workers to be willing to deliver their best work. It’s about creating and fostering a purpose behind each worker’s contribution. Through new ways of management, organizations can survive and win in an ever-changing modern environment.
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