Management Yes, Managers Are Important to Organizational Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Management

Yes, managers are important to organizational success. But this is a logical fallacy question. All organizations, both the successful ones and the utter failures, have managers. So the question isn't about whether managers are important to success -- mathematically there is 100% correlation between having managers and being successful, but also 100% correlation between having managers and being unsuccessful.

Then there is the issue of where organizational success comes from. First, one must define success -- is it profitability? Or exceptional profitability? Short-term, long-term? And there are a lot of variables that contribute to organizational success, not just the actions of management. Further, to determine whether managers are integral to success, and to what degree, would require a control. It is almost impossible to define a control. You could say the managers at Google are really good, but unless there is a parallel universe Google with different managers, how do we know how much of the success was the result of shrewd managerial decision-making and how much was circumstance.

There are several roles that managers play within an organization, and these roles tend to reflect the guiding of organizational resources towards the firm's objectives. Eyre (2015) outlined ten key roles for managers: figurehead, leader, liaison, monitor, disseminator, spokesperson, entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator. The company we will examine is FedEx. At FedEx, managers play each of these roles, and naturally different types of managers perform these roles to different degrees.

As leaders, managers must set the vision for the organization, and its objectives. Then, the manager has to allocate resources to the achievement of that task. This can mean everything from setting out human resources policy to budgeting to determining the way that the resources are organized. They ensure that, more or less, there are the right amount of people at each station, and that the aircraft are allocated efficiently. In doing this, they are able to ensure that the packages are moved around the world on time as much as possible. The managers ensure that standards are met, which puts them in a position to follow through on most of those other roles as well.

Overall, it is reasonable to expect that if there were two equal firms, the one with the better managers would enjoy better outcomes. This is reasonable based on what managers do within an organization -- they ensure that the daily activities of the organization are not only performed well, but that those activities support the overall strategy and vision for the organization that leadership has laid out. When this is the case, managers are having a positive influence. But equally, when managers are poor, the organization is not particularly effective, and can expect to have negative outcomes.

Task 2. There are two main types of organizations -- organic and mechanistic. A mechanistic organization is one that features more rigid structures and roles, while an organic organization is one where roles and structures tend to be more fluid (Study.com, 2015). Most organizations are mechanistic, while many "creative" organizations, either in technology, or in things like advertising or engineering, can be more organic in nature. Thus, the two organizational structures are quite different from one another.

There are few similarities, but where they exist, they tend to revolve around a generalized concept of the firm. Every company, even organic ones, have certain roles that have been delegated to certain people. Even in a creative organization, somebody has to be in charge of accounting, and chances are pretty good that they will have an accounting background. So even the most organic of organizations will have some structure. And in situations where roles are legitimately fluid, the role must be filled even if it is different people filling it at different times.

But the differences between these structures are more striking than the similarities. There are differences in particular in the communication and interaction styles of these organizations (Courtright, Fairhurst & Rogers, 1989). Where stronger formal structures exist, in a mechanistic organization, those structures tend to guide communication flows. It need not to strictly top-down, as in the military, but the flows are governed by hierarchy more frequently, and informal barriers will exist to communication within the organization. In an organic organization, communication flows more freely between all levels, and ideas are met on their own merit, rather than being judged on the basis of where they came from.

Another difference will be the career pathways within the organization. Members of a mechanistic organization might face a career pathway that has been prescribed by tradition, something strictly hierarchical in nature, whereas in an organic organization one's career is determined more on the basis of merit. This reflects the general difference between these types of organizations. A mechanistic organization functions best when everybody performs in a specific role, and their duty is mainly to perform that role well. This is different from an organic organization, which performs at its best when there are fewer barriers to communication, and where the exchange of information and ideas is more important. The entire point of the organic structure is to reduce those internal barriers to information flow, in order to leverage the talent within the organization. This understanding of the mechanistic-organic differences dates back to when the concepts were first described, and it is also noted that organic structures are also more common in organizations characterized by a rapid pace of change, while more stable organizations function better with a mechanistic structure (Burns & Stalker, 1961).

Task 3.

The process by which strategy is formed is roughly the same for most companies. The first step is to undertake an environmental scan, which will help management to understand where opportunities lie, and what sorts of obstacles there might be. This information will be valuable through the strategy-setting process. Then, the management team needs to set overall objectives -- a mission -- and formulate a vision for how that will be achieved. This process requires creativity, but also the openness to recognize opportunities that other people do not see -- to find the untapped markets or products that can ultimately allow the business to flourish.

The next steps are more with respect to how the mission, vision and strategic objectives can be achieved. In essence, a broad strategy has to be translated into a more refined version of the strategy that can be operationalized. These steps include setting targets, determining what parts of the organization will be responsible for which roles that relate to hitting those targets. Then the strategy needs to be analyzed, and adjustments made where performance has not been up to standard (MSG, 2015).

While most strategy formulation is done in this top-down manner, it is not always this way. Organic organizations, in particular, often feature bottom-up strategy. This form of strategy-formulation usually starts with an idea. Because organic organizations feature free-flowing communication and are much less hierarchical in their structure, such ideas can come from anywhere in the organization and then be followed up on, and turned into strategy. The usual manner in which this occurs is that the idea needs to pass through review by peers, and people at different levels of the organization. While that means that the idea can be subject to biases (Reitzig & Sorenson, 2013) it also means that strategy is something to which the entire organization contributes, in an organic way.

If we consider how these steps are applied to FedEx, the initial steps were undertaken when the business was founded, whereby the opportunity in the marketplace was recognized and a niche found that was not being served. From there, the company has been able to refine its strategy multiple times. For example, it saw that there was an opportunity to expand this idea internationally, so FedEx began to expand first to Canada and then eventually to most countries around the world. Over time FedEx then saw that its customers had multiple different needs, and made the strategic decision to become a more comprehensive provider of logistics services, with Ground, Office and various other freight and customs clearance services. This has allowed FedEx to flourish consistently, because the process of scanning the environment, seeing opportunity and then adjusting strategy has resulted in several strategic shifts over the years, each of which has created new opportunity for the company to expand its business model.

For each shift in strategy, however, the company has had to build that shift into its vision, and ensure that management is in place to bring that vision to life. The implementation of strategy is an important part of the process, for a couple of reasons. First, the strategic vision has to be something plausible that can be implemented, at least when there are constraints. Most companies, especially smaller ones, have fairly significant constraints to their operations. So the ability to implement a strategy is an important part of its formulations -- remember that when objectives are set for the organization they need to be realistic, and achievable.…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Burns, T. & Stalker, G. (1961). The management of innovation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship

Courtright, J., Fairhurst, G. & Rogers, L. (1989). Interaction patterns in organic and mechanistic systems. The Academy of Management Journal. Vol. 32 (4) 773-802.

Eyre, E. (2015). Mintzberg's management roles. MindTools.com. Retrieved July 5, 2015 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/management-roles.htm

MSG (2015). Steps in strategy formulation process. Management Study Guide. Retrieved July 6, 2015 from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/strategy-formulation-process.htm

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