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New Paradigms in Management
Human Resources » Change Management


Chrm Message From: madure Total Posts: 278 Join Date: 06/06/2006
Rank: Coach Post Date: 18/06/2006 20:15:22 Points: 1440 Location: Sri Lanka


Introduction


Many managers are questioning the way they run their organizations since the concepts of measure and improve that worked so well in the past simply don’t seem to be providing the desired benefits. Executives, managers, supervisors, and employees are now facing changes on multiple fronts. Competition is becoming borderless, new alliances are being formed, internal processes are now being considered for outsourcing, diversity in the workforce is common place, total quality is being required, and technology is evolving at a head-spinning speed. However, perhaps the toughest aspect to except is that the trends of the past, or even the present, no longer predict the future with any measurable certainty.

Many managers are questioning the way they run their organizations since the concepts of measure and improve that worked so well in the past simply don’t seem to be providing the desired benefits. Executives, managers, supervisors, and employees are now facing changes on multiple fronts. Competition is becoming borderless, new alliances are being formed, internal processes are now being considered for outsourcing, diversity in the workforce is common place, total quality is being required, and technology is evolving at a head-spinning speed. However, perhaps the toughest aspect to except is that the trends of the past, or even the present, no longer predict the future with any measurable certainty.


To ensure success, organizational mangers must learn to be leaders and workers will have to learn to become self-managed. To make this transition successful, it is necessary to examine the leadership/management methodology utilized in the past century. After this has been completed, it is possible to develop a style that will meet the needs of the leader and the organization alike in the new millennium.


The Mechanistic Model


For centuries scientists and philosophers have viewed the world as a great machine. A machine that could be broken down into pieces, examined, and then reconstructed. From this perspective we developed many of our modern organizations. Jobs were viewed as a series of pieces that could be put together into tasks and then segmented into departments, functions, and specializations. The goal was to construct the organization as if it was a well-oiled machine. Management’s role was that of the mechanic. They were charged with the responsibility of oiling the squeaky wheel, and replacing or reconstructing the parts when they broke down. Management was trained to plan for the future by looking at the past, and employees were convinced that the greatest service they could provide to the organization was leaving their feelings and personal lives at the door.


As a result of this perspective, a strong mechanistic management paradigm has dominated many organizations since their existence. Some of the assumptions underlying this paradigm are that:
• Cause and effect relationships can be utilized to describe any situation.
• When a tactic has been developed that produces the desired result, it can be relied upon to produce the same result time and time again.
• Managers can use their knowledge of the worker’s needs to manipulate them on the behalf of the organization.
• Employees require clearly defined roles and job descriptions that confine them to prescribed behaviors that are determined by management.
• Clear and fixed lines of authority and information transfer can be drawn.
Although scientists and philosophers no longer hold the mechanistic view of the world, it is still an extremely dominant perspective in today’s organizations. Scientists and philosophers have learned that the world is not as simple as the mechanistic models they once described. This change in perspective is rooted in and perhaps best described in chaos and quantum theory.


Chaos Theory


The premise of chaos theory is that the world is non-linear. This simply means that direct cause and effect relationships are unattainable over time because the future state of the world is unknowable and uncertain. The world is in a constant state of flux, and is, by its very nature, uncontrollable and unpredictable. Therefore, the long-term outcomes for an organization can not simply be planned for by strategic leaders. Past strategic successes cannot ensure future strategic successes. Chaos theory suggests that this is because seemingly insignificant and unrelated events in the environment can have a dramatic affect on the outcome of any event. The scenario described as the "butterfly effect" is frequently used to illustrate of the workings of this theory. "A butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the globe potentially can alter weather patterns on the other side of the globe as the weather system twists and churns over time". However even in this state of chaos there is order. A system in a complete state of chaos inherently will define its own boundaries. Specific events and actions are still random and unpredictable, but from a larger and more distant perspective the system as a whole is orderly.


From chaos theory, managers can gain insight into how to function within their ever-changing environments. These insights can be grouped into two main lessons. Lesson one – Rely less on precise planning. Since precise planning is unreliable, it is more beneficial to just keep the goals in mind and to allow the organization to evolve and adapt to meet those goals. Lesson two – Be responsive. If small changes in the environment can result in dramatic changes in the output, then small changes in management inputs can also result in such changes. Be aware of the dynamics of your environment and be prepared to make the necessary adjustments.


Quantum Theory


Quantum theory runs in complete contradiction to the beliefs of the traditional manager. It suggests that the world is not only unpredictable, but also that we do not have enough information to even start to develop an understanding. Those things that we hold as truths in our traditional view of the world are no longer concrete on the quantum level. Quantum research shows that the act of observation or measurement influences the outcome of any event. We (humans, researchers, and managers) are not an impartial third party. Our wants and desires in themselves have the power to affect an outcome on the quantum level. Quantum theory further suggests that the relationships between the objects, element, or people involved are more important than the objects, elements, or people themselves.


Three basic conclusions can be derived from quantum theory. One, the future state of a system is undeterminable regardless of how accurate we can record and describe the system in its present state. Two, the observer is not independent of the surrounding world. The act of measuring any part of the system not only influences the outcome of the event, but also restricts our ability to measure other aspects of the system. Three, the relationships between the objects in the system is the reality. Nothing in the system exists independent of its relationships with the system .


This focus on reality on the quantum level has also influenced our attitudes towards management. Traditional authoritative leadership developed into the drive for situational leadership, which stressed using different management/leadership styles in different situations, which is now shifting to participative leadership. "Leadership is always dependent on the context, but the context is established by the relationships we value. We cannot hope to influence any situation without respect for the complex network of people who contribute to our organization".


The New Leadership Paradigm


It has been suggested in the book Leadership Jazz, that managers can learn a lot from jazz band leaders because leadership, like jazz, combines the unpredictability of the future with the gifts of individuals. "Jazz-band leaders must chose the music, find the right musicians, and perform – in public. But the effect of the performance depends on so many things – the environment, the volunteers playing in the band, the need for everyone to perform as individuals and as a group, the absolute dependence of the leader on the members of the band, the need of the leader for the followers to play well. What a summary of an organization". Depree’s metaphor is very descriptive and enticing. It provides movement in any number of directions, yet it provides boundaries.


Leadership, above all else, is about servanthood. Leadership also entails a posture of debt, and a certain amount of forfeiture of rights. But leadership does not stop there. The qualities of a leader compound on one another. One aspect always implies and requires another. The skills of jazz surround the ability to deal with change. Being open and flexible are certainly required characteristics, however, they certainly are not enough to ensure success. Deeper skills are required. These skills are listening, joining, penetrating, turning to the outside, big vision, hang time, wholeness, knowledge, aligning the center, rhythm, shifting focus, act in uncertainty, high overwhelm quotient, internal drive, capacity for paradox, and market sense.


Conclusions & Recommendations


The New Management Paradigm


In any organization there exists two distinctive types of leaders. Those that are given formal authority and are responsible for the actions of others - managers, and those with no formal authority and are responsible only for their own actions. However managers, who have the formal authority, are often times not strong leaders, and those leaders with no formal authority are often times unsuited for management. Sometimes the roles of manager and leader merge and blur, but they are still different . The objective is to establish an organizational culture that encourages managers to learn to become better leaders, and promotes workers to become better self-managers. "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other". Organizational managers must transition from transactional to transformational leadership, and the informal leaders of the organization must be utilized for their leadership talent.


Based on ideas developed by Schaefer & Bouvin


Prof. Lakshman Madurasinghe., MA.,MS(Psy)., PhD., Chartered Fellow CIPD-Lond., Consultant Psychologist/Attorney


Web: http://lmadurasinghe.googlepages.com



 
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