Essay on The Work of Managers in New Organizational Contexts

5805 Words Nov 10th, 2011 24 Pages
The work of managers in new organizational contexts
The Authors
Judith Ann Chapman, University of Western Sydney, Richmond, Australia
Focuses on the work of managers in new forms of organisations which are flexible, horizontally integrated, and decentralised. Although much has been written about managers, including their roles, functions, and skills, the organisational context is changing, and new perspectives are needed. A process perspective is a way of understanding the work of managers in these contexts. The paper suggests two pivotal management processes, the exercise of judgment and the use of influence, through which managers add value to more general organisational processes. Some directions for research are
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This counters the insularity and lack of cooperation which often bedevils more traditional organisations. Thirdly, the culture in new forms supports initiative, autonomy and creativity in decision making in all sectors of the organisation. This provides for a level of flexibility and responsiveness which is not otherwise achievable. Finally, knowledge and information are valued more highly as resources than capital and fixed assets. This reflects a valuing of the capacity to respond to tomorrow’s demands above the certainties of the present day.
Do these structural shifts make a difference to the work of managers in new forms of organisation? Bartlett and Ghoshal (1997) argue that they do, that managers are, in fact, doing different things. Importantly, there are key contrasts between traditional and new forms in the nature of the work at operational, senior and top levels. Operating level managers are undergoing transformation from implementers to aggressive entrepreneurs, those at the senior level are moving away from their previous role as administrative controllers to supportive coaches, and top level managers are becoming institutional leaders rather than resource allocators. These new roles impact the value that managers add to the organisation as well as their key tasks and activities. At operational level, for example,

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