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A hybrid manager

3849 words (15 pages) Essay in Information Systems

02/05/17 Information Systems Reference this

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Introduction

A Hybrid manager can defined as a person who possesses strong technical skills and adequate business knowledge or vice versa. He should have the required skills needed in the technical as well as the management aspect. Along with that, he should also possess the management competences like communication skills, negotiation skills and also he should be able to motivate others working under him. A Hybrid manager should be able to reduce the gap between the business and technical aspects of the organization and build it with his expertise.

Researchers have time and again suggested that any organisation which has business and technical department working in tandom with each other has an advantage over other organisations whose technical and business department is not integrated. And this role of integration of the business and technical department is performed by the Hybrid managers.

History

In 1989 Michael Earl defined the term ‘Hybrid manager’ as ‘People with strong ethical values and adequate business knowledge and vice versa…hybrids are people with technical skills able to work in user areas doing a line or functional job but adept at developing and supplementing IT application ideas’ ( Michael Earl, 1989).

In 1990 Colin Palmer [1], Chairman of the British Computer Society Task Group on hybrid managers, wrote: “The (hybrid manager) term was coined by Michael Earl, Director of OXIIM at Templeton College, Oxford, as a result of a number of pieces of research that he and his colleagues had been undertaking. They noticed that in all the significant cases of successful implementation of information technology for competitive advantage or for achieving major change in organisations, there seemed to be a person at the heart of the development who displayed certain experience and characteristics. These were: an understanding of the business and what was required within the business, combined with a technical competence that enabled them to understand what was required in technical terms, including the scope of what was being planned. In addition to this, they displayed two types of organisational skills. They knew how to get about the business, and this implied that they knew the business and the people around it well, and they knew how to get things done, possessing a set of excellent social skills – to listen, understand, negotiate and persuade” (Colin Palmer,1990).

Information Technology

International technology (IT) is considered as one of major and important routes for competitive advantage in today’s modern business world. Hence, any company which lacks in IT has a disadvantage in comparison to those who possess this advantage. It in today’s world is a pre-requisite for any firm. But, there are issues which are faced by IT and this makes it risky as well. According to a recent survey it was found out that the three main issues which are faced by IT are :

  • Integrating IT with business
  • Delivery on time and within budget
  • Cost.

The biggest problem for any organization lies in the integration of IT and Business. In business, one has to meet all the requirement of its client right from the quality of the product to the delivery date , the cost factor etc. All these things should be taken into consideration . IT cannot stand alone. It needs the support of business management.

There are many questions which needs to be answered. Questions like the failure of software development projects meeting the requirements of it users or the product being not delivered on time or the increase in cost . The problem lies in both the departments, technical and management. There is a huge gap between both the parties which does not allow them to work efficiently. The increase in this gap is a matter of concern for the companies. Hence, any company which wants to succeed needs to bridge this gap. The Hybrid managers , who have an understanding of business and IT, can help bridge these gaps and smoothen the path oh project management and software development. And herein lies the need for hybrid managers.

Characteristics of a successful Hybrid Manager

  • Self-motivated/like being challenged – A successful hybrid is self-motivated person. He does not need any external factors to motivate him/her. His motivation lies within. Whenever any kind of problem or complication arises, they have the ability to make decisions. A successful hybrid manager is the one can take care of issues his own. They set high goals and always look to reach at the top. They have the confidence to step out of their comfort zone and try new ideas and strategies.They will never give up. If stuck somewhere, they will try for various options to get out of it.
  • Intelligent in the broad sense – A successful hybrid has very good technical skills. At the same time he also has a good knowledge about the business. He is intelligent in the sense that he has a very good understanding of of his job.
  • Coping with conflicts – He is not afraid of difficulties or problems. He is a self-motivated personality and hence he has the ability to cope with pressure. He can take care of any issues. Even if he is stuck at something, he will try and come out of it.
  • Flexible – Flexibility is another very important trait of a successful hybrid. He is open to change and new ideas. He adapts quickly to any environment, changing conditions or any other obstacles in his working. Adjusting to new and different conditions and situations is extremely vital for any successful hybrid.
  • Energetic and persistent – He is full of energy . He keeps the work environment very lively and makes it easy to work. Having a lively and relaxed environment is extremely important for any organisation in order to prosper. It helps the employees to work efficiently. Persistence is another important virtue of a successful hybrid manager. Along with being energetic, he should also be persistent so that it maintains a proper balance in the organisation.
  • Good communication skills – Good communication skills are the key for executing management skills. Good communication skills helps in having open conversations with the team members and avoids any misunderstanding within the group. It helps in conveying the correct message in a correct manner. And a successful hybrid possesses these skills.
  • Leadership – A successful hybrid manager is a very good leader. He possess the skills required by a good leader. A good leader is not only a self motivator but he also motivates others by his actions and words. A good leader is confident and supportive. He is always available to his team. He eludes positivity and leads by examples.
  • Creativity – A successful hybrid is very creative. He has a vision for the organisation and he strives hard to transform that vision into reality.
  • Innovative – Innovation is another very important quality in a successful hybrid. Along with creativity he also needs to be innovative in his approach towards the organisation. He needs to develop new and innovative ideas in order to help the organisation prosper and achieve its goals.
  • Bridging the gap between Technical department and management – This is the most important work of a hybrid manager. And a successful hybrid manager is the one who is able to bridge this gap and help maintain the balance between these two departments. Integration of these two departments is the virtue of a successful hybrid manager.

The need for Hybrid managers

With changing time, even the market is changing. The markets have globalised. It is the times of Globalisation. The competition has increased and the business has also become more competitive. The style of working has changed. Projects have become more critical, change programmes have become larger than before. The complexity of these programmes have increased. The company has to prove its viability of every initiative which it undertakes. Gone are days when people where included in the organisation for their vertical skills. In today’s business environment, the company demands its managers to be allrounders. They should be more business aware.

Today’s managers have to be more competent than how they were 10 years back. It has become more complex. He has to get the best out of his staff either by developing their skills or by recruiting new employees any which ways. The staff has to be managed properly. Not only that, he also has to take care of the technical part as well. A lot of importance has to be given to the project and the team. This was not the case earlier. With changing times, as competition has increased, the manager’s have to use different techniques of managing the organisation. These responsibilities were not there 10 years before. There is also an increasing belief that the problems which the IT department faces are neither technical or fiscal in nature. Their main problem is organisational and managerial.

Quality Output

In today’s highly competitive scenario, the quality of a product becomes the utmost important aim for any organisation. Now, companies cannot take the consumers or their clients for granted. They cannot take them for a ride. Today, people have lots of options which they can fall on. With the developing technology like the usage of internet, Just with the click of a button, the consumers can get what they want. Hence the focus on quality becomes extremely vital for any organisation in order to succeed. Hence, the role of hybrid managers becomes very important. The issue of quality is high on the company’s agenda. The manager need to monitor the quality concern. His role is to examine the quality of the product while it is production. He should take the initiative to see to it that the quality of the product is maintained throughout. He should not wait until the product is developed completely and then check if there are nay faults or mistakes. He should check the products throughout until the development process till the product is completely finished. The hybrid manager should be responsible for the quality of the product .The hybrid should aim at creating a proper plan for assuring the quality of it product. Hence he needs to maintain the parameters of the quality. In business terms, quality could be defined as producing a business system on time, within budget, developed to agreed standards and providing the required degree of functionality. There are various verification techniques such as;

  • Structured walkthroughs.
  • Informal reviews/inspections.
  • Quality assurance reviews.
  • Quality audits.

Hence , there is huge responsibility on the shoulders of the hybrid manager to ensure that the quality of the product is maintained when it reaches the consumer.

Partnerships

According to a research done by Henderson in IT projects he found out that personal relations was the reason for creating bonding in the organisation. According to him “You must have the ability to bypass the organization and go directly to someone who will . He insisted that, there is a need for building an effective building relationship between the line managers and the information system managers and the specialists.

The gap between the line managers and the information system managers needs to be bridged. Miscommunication between any departments can have its effect on the organisation. Hence, the company needs to take appropriate steps in order to avoid any kind of faults. Hence, the hybrid managers come into the picture. They have expertise about the business management as well as the technical part. They can act as a link between these two departments. Thus, the hybrid managers play a very important role in the 21st century.

Managing the change in business

Change is the only constant. Whenever there is change in the business, there is always some kind of pressure on the manager to show results. The manager has to undertake lot of responsibilities. He has to manage and exercise a number of skills. He has to start making decisions. A solid foundation is a pre requisite for any kind of business. Hence, it is important for the hybrid manager to make a positive and controlled start. There are certain things which he needs to take into consideration like ;

In brief, these initiation tasks can be seen as follows:

Establishing Terms of references of the new programme – The manager needs to understand the terms and reference of the new business.

Proper structure – A proper structure needs to be in place for any issue regarding the change in programme.

Managing finances – It is also important for the manager to take care of the new finances. Understanding the basis of program, how it changed, how it was established and how the finances.

Change control procedures – All the changes made should be handled in a controlled manner. All requests should be documented, impact assessed properly, priorities assigned and decisions made. If any procedure is left undefined then it will lead to loss of control.

Determine/tune methodology – The manager should be familiar with the structuring of change programmes and should understand what tuning is necessary to minimise the risk of failure.

Job cutting & less complications

Hybrid managers can help the company in cost cutting as well. The managers are among the best paid employees. Therefore, having separate managers for the technical and management department will increase the expenditure of the company. In these times of recession, companies are looking to cut down on their workforce as much as possible. They are using different techniques to reduce their costs and total expenditure. All over the world , there are job cuts happening. Therefore having the same manager for the technical as well as the business management department will reduce the expenditure of the company to a certain extent. Also having a common manager will be less complicated than having separate managers. Having separate managers can become complicated as they have expertise in their respective fields but hybrid managers have skill and adequate knowledge in both the departments.

Financial awareness :

An hybrid manager literally means a person who looks after both the sectors in the business likely managerial as well as the technical aspect, here this financial awareness comes under the sector of the managerial were it is the duty of the hybrid manager to look after the sector of financial sector for the well being of the business. An hybrid manager should atleast have some knowledge on the basic accounting, simple cash flow statements, cash budgets, and things like that for the good functioning of the business. These basic knowledge on the financial sector will help the hybrid manager to understand the financial status of the business which gradually result in the development of the financial sector in the business. Knowledge in the financial will lead the hybrid manager to cover all the other sectors which are involved in the business because for every business financial sector is the main sector cause it is the place were the whole of the business is dependent on. If the financial sector of a business is not perfect then the whole business will collapse , at the same time if a financial sector of a business is perfect then the business can be brought high even from the level of mud. So it is the responsibility of the hybrid manager to look after the finance for the well being of the business.

Hybrid manager should not only have an idea of the basic accounting but he should also have ideas on the day to day transactions which take place in the business, he should have known the details of the tangible and the intangible assets of the business, he should also be aware of the interest rates for the amount which is being lend to others and interest for the money which is being borrowed from others, overall he should have details on each and every single penny which is been spent, gained and invested in the business which is for the well being of the business where it is the duty of the hybrid manager to have all the details of the financial sectors and also the other sectors in the business.

Risk Management:

Risk is the key the word of every business where there is some or the other sort of risk involved in each and every business. There can be no business without the risk management. The only difference which might be there in every business would be whether it is taken on a small scale or the risk is taken in a large scale. As the hybrid manager it is the duty of him to take proper risk on the necessary time when needed for the development of the business. It is not advisable to take risk very often but it is the duty of the hybrid manager to take risk at the necessary times. It is easy to take risk and put the business under risk but the hybrid manager should have calculation on possible effects which may occur because of taking such risk in the business and should also have the calculation on how to overcome those circumstance and the possibilities to overcome those circumstances which should all be calculated before taking. He should act in such a way to minimise the chances of failure in the business because of taking such risks in the business. He should also have the estimation cost which would occur because of taking such risk in the business and he should also be capable of handling any situation in the business and should also be capable of handling pressure in the business which might occur because of taking such risks in the business. It is not that taking risk will always be successful for the business because there might be circumstance were it might also end up in failure where the hybrid manager should have the potential enough to manage those circumstance. The fear at those those circumstance will result in the failure of the business so the hybrid manager should have the potential to manage any situation which might occur in the business and he should have the capability of solving those problems.

Effective and productive use of resources:

The other important function of hybrid manager is effective and productive use of the resources where the hybrid manager should have the efficiency to utilize the maximum resource from each and every individual in the company which will result in the development of the business. There is a common saying which states that maximum utilization of minimum resources which means effective usage of the resources with the minimum level of source which is one of the most important functions of the hybrid manager where he should have knowledge of effective and productive use of the resources. A hybrid manager should be efficient enough to utilize each and every resource of the company for the well being and development of the company. He should have the efficiency to motivate each and every individual who works in the organisations for the development of the business. The ultimate aim of the hybrid manager is to increase the individuals productivity level in the organisation. it is the responsibility of the hybrid manager to make use of each and every resources in the organisation for the benefit and development of the organisation.

Coping with stress:

Stress can easily be defined as pressure or demand on physical or mental energy which has an negative effective in it. There is a common saying which says that things can be properly done under pressure. Most of them think that stress and pressure are the same but it is not so pressure comes when there is too much of workload in the job or anything but pressure comes when there is too much of pressure in the job or anything, Being the head he can easily transfer his stress verbally or on nonverbal actions to other individual in the company but it is the duty of the hybrid manager to manager to cope up with the stress and solve the problems by himself because if the manager shows his stress on the other individuals in will naturally result in stress on other worker who work in the company which will result in lack of concentration and unnecessary fear which would end up in certain problems in the organisation so it is the duty of the hybrid manager to cope up with the stress and to maintain it within himself to protect from unnecessary problems in the organisation. It is the duty of the hybrid manager to maintain peace and avoid pressure from the head of the other individuals who work under him, so that they can work properly without any pressure on him.

Conclusion

The role of a Hybrid manager is very complex. He needs to have knowledge about all the areas of the business and he also needs to exceed in them. He needs to make a difference to the organisation. A hybrid manager is a self-motivated person, a good leader, creative, has good communication skills, flexible and always there to help his staff and team. The ability of a hybrid manager is to showcase his all round skills. A hybrid manager can also be called as an all rounder.

As the times are changing, the competition has also increased. With the ever increasing competition, every company is looking for different ways to emerge on the top. And in order to do this, having Hybrid managers is extremely vital. As the technology is developing, there is a need to go in hand in hand with it. And the hybrid managers are appropriate ambassadors to represent their respective organisations. Hence, as we have seen in this assignment, a hybrid manager is of great importance in the 21st century Global economy. There is a need to develop hybrid managers and enhance them for the growth of any organisation.

Reference

http://www.globalmorality.org/?q=content/hybrid-manager: last accessed 4 dec 2009

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5U7o0FlH-AsC&pg=PA436&lpg=PA436&dq=michael+earl+hybrid+manager&source=bl&ots=J2n0xjB8lZ&sig=9pMgjkR9GaQDjntX3sZkIxPpZQg&hl=en&ei=tuQgS4nxJdm5jAfLx-TiBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=michael%20earl%20hybrid%20manager&f=false: last accessed 4 dec 2009

http://itnow.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/38/6/22: last accessed 5 dec 2009

O’Connor, G . Smallman, C. (1995). The hybrid manager: a review. Management Decision. 33 (7), 19-28.

Homes, G. (2001). The hybrid manager. Industrial and Commercial Training. 33 (1), 16-26.

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