As long as there are offices, there will be conflicts between management and staff. Still, no business can hope to succeed without a successful working relationship between these two occasionally combative entities. Managers will always need motivated employees to work hard and achieve the company’s goals, and employees will always need managers to set those goals and pay them for their efforts to meet them. Indeed, this seeming imbalance of power is why some staffers inevitably come to resent their superiors: while the workers work, the managers take all the credit.
But this reductive viewpoint fails to recognize the true impact that management has on a business. After all, in the U.S. many companies adhere to specific managerial principles and strategies that have been implemented and studied countless times. These guidelines make it possible for managers in many industries to keep the workplace efficient and on-task. In developing countries, however, aligning a business’s management to a particular school of thought is decidedly not the norm. As a result, companies are managed in a more reactive way that prevents them from reaching their full potential.
For instance, researchers at Stanford University and consultants from Accenture recently teamed up with a few Indian textile firms to revamp their management structures. Within months the new bosses had brought order to the factories’ chaotic operations by designing incentives, clearly defining tasks, and tracking inventory and production. While those accomplishments may seem a little basic to American businesspeople, the Indian operators of these companies had no idea how to use these core principles to their advantage. But thanks to these relatively simple fixes, profits increased at the studied factories by more than $300,000 annually. In the end, this experiment exemplifies both the power of prudent management and the dire need for informed, effective leadership in developing economies. Here’s hoping that further education on the subject can change minds about management the world over.
- Is there one best way to manage that can work consistently across the globe?
- Why do managers need to perfect technical skills to succeed on their jobs?
Source: Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan, “Management Consultants Can Save the World,” Slate, January 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Peter Kolkman.