Evolution in Management Theory
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Published: Mon, 24 Jul 2017
1DISSERTATION ON STEVEN E ELSE THESIS
The evolution in management theory over the last century is the history of the constantly changing role of leaders in organizations. As organizational leaders evolved from the carrot-and-stick wielding owner-managers of the earlier Industrial era to the Servant Leaders of the 21stCentury, the impact of individual leaders on organizations became progressively important. Whereas early managers could rely on authority and strong-arm tactics to reach their goals, servant leaders in our time are challenged to set personal examples by living the values and principles they wish their followers to achieve (Bosman, 2009). Evolution of theory started with Classical management than evolve to Neo classical management and followed by Modern management.
In the thesis, Steven E Else describe about the transformational leadership. He refers to Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense who was a leading neoconservative voice and one of the key individuals responsible for the restructuring of the Department of Defense in the new 21st century. Transformational leadership is a style of leadership where the leader is charged with identifying the needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of the group (Wikepedia-Transformational Leadership, n.d). This theory has been introduced by James McGregor Burns and he defined transformational leadership as a process where “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.” We studied Evolutionary theory because they are the foundation for the human sciences, particularly a theory that includes an account of cultural evolution.
It also provides a rationale for decision making, theoretical framework underpinning practice in educational institution and it is very important tools especially to the CGSC students. It’s about to transform the future leaders to shape the future and also serves as a foundation of education because it shows how mankind repeats its errors and what those errors are. The main thesis of Steven Else dissertation is towards the Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld’s who had a vision to transform Department of Defense (DOD). Rumsfeld took on the transformation and modernization of the Pentagon and that whole structure, and then 9-11 got thrown in. Rather than “pushing transformation aside” to focus on the global war on terror, Rumsfeld used the terror war as a “forcing mechanism” to speed up the transformation process (Miles, 2006). There are two theorists as the main sources for his thesis which is Herbert A. Simon who is the foundation for the study of managerial decision making and Kenneth Arrow Kenneth Arrow, founder of social choice theory and welfare economics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2013) . Apart from contributing to our understanding of collective decision procedures, social choice theory has applications in the areas of institutional design, welfare economics, and social epistemology. Both of the theorists are aligned with Steven E Else main focus which is the organization decision making assumptions and processes associated with the transformation effort, the type of leadership and technology.
The conceptual framework of Steven Else to evaluate Secretary Rumsfeld’s transformational initiative is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework of Steven Else
The objective of Steven Else framework is to evaluate Secretary Rumsfeld’s transformational initiative in light of important organization theories, with emphasis on Simon’s “bounded rationality” and Arrow’s “limits of organization” and also to address cognitive and organization theory. Bounded rationality and limits of organization are much related with habits, skill, knowledge and wisdom and Steven Else connect these two ideas through Organizational behavior. OB is the study of both group and individual performance and activity within an organization. It examines human behavior in a work environment and determines its impact on job structure, performance, communication, motivation, leadership, etc. Internal and external perspectives are two theories of how organizational behavior can be viewed by an organization (Study.com, n.d). Steven Else thesis also embraces of knowledge management in his thesis which has the impact towards decision making. Knowledge Management is very important tools for effectively transformation of DOD which has a large and complex organization that requires holistic thinking, both in terms of the relationships between people, process and infrastructure/technology and the levels of analysis of the personal and organizational levels. Knowledge Management is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organisationalknowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. Three important dimensions of knowledge management in the twenty-first century are technology, processes and human capital (Wikipedia-Knowledge management, n.d).
From my understanding, it is very important that a manager or leader in the military to manage people, who constitute the “organization”. If he can’t understand these people (i.e. their behaviour), how can he manage them? Managers or military leader need an understanding of organizational behaviour because a large part of their job has to do with exactly that. Organizational behaviour is the study of how people behave while in groups and as individuals (Enotes- management, 2012). Much of what a manager or military leader does has to do with trying to get people to work as effectively as possible. It can involve trying to motivate an individual worker or it can involve trying to understand how to get workers who are part of a team to interact with one another in such a way that they are able to work more efficiently and effectively to achieve the organization mission and objective. This is the reason the concept of organizational behaviour is a major field of study in any institution these days. In addition, managers and military leaders play an integral part in anorganization‘s growth, evolution and transformation. Organizational transformation is a complex process, particularly in larger organizations with more inertia. Organizations are essentially a compilation of moving parts: motivating each individual, with her/his unique talents and motivation, to change direction simultaneously is extremely challenging, and requires highly effective managers with highly developed communication skills. Large, distributed, networked organizations such as US GAO, General Motors, Massachusetts Institute of Technology that focus on particular interests and problem areas are becoming more common in an increasingly connected world. These organizations don’t fit traditional structures and systems, and cannot be understood in traditional terms. By analyzing the three large organizations, according to the Mckinsey 7-S model, we are better able to discern the critical areas that need to be considered in the formation and maintenance of such organizations, and to promote highly effective functioning. The 7-S model posits that organizations must be approached holistically in order to be understood; organizational elements (the 7-Ss) must be in alignment with each other for the organization to succeed, and organizations must fit or align with the external environment. The seven basic elements that are important for organizational effectiveness are: strategy, structure, systems, staffing, skills, style, and shared values (PaulT.Bartone & LintonWellsII, 2009). From the Steven E Else thesis it is identified that all three organization has to reform their system which refers to the rules and regulations, standards, and processes for getting things done and managing the activity of the organization, both formal and informal. The transformation including restructure business design on GM, to establish clear line of authority on GAO and MIT to re-engineering their education. The major hindrance of their transformation is the inadequate Culture-shift Planning. Most companies are good at planning changes in reporting structure, work area placement, job responsibilities, and administrative structure. Organizational charts are commonly revised again and again. Timelines are established, benchmarks are set, transition teams are appointed, etc. Failure to foresee and plan for resultant cultural change, however, is also common. When the planning team is too narrowly defined or too focused on objective analysis and critical thinking, it becomes too easy to lose sight of the fact that the planned change will affect people. Even at work, people make many decisions on the basis of feelings and intuition. When the feelings of employees are overlooked, the result is often deep resentment because some unrecognized taboo or tradition has not been duly respected.
The most important lesson from the US DOD transformation programme is the important decisions making are hard to make in large groups especially when involved too many people. The more complex an organization, with more intricate technology and higher skilled human resources, the more flexible a company’s strategy for organizational structure must be to adapt to uncertainty. The more stable and less complicated a company is, combined with less skilled or trained human resources, the less coordination is needed for communication between groups and the higher the likelihood for a strategy of centralized power and hierarchy structure (Organizational Structure: A Tale of Success and Failure, n.d). Organizational decision making was the increasing possibility of information overload for decision makers. This is why Secretary Rumsfeld had this threat in mind when he handpicked his advisers for transformation planning. In addition, the vision of transformation plan is not been clear and that it has not been effectively or consistently communicated further complicates the task. The dilemma faced by DOD transformation efficiently and effectively is also happened in my country. For example, many large Information Technology (IT) company implementations fail because they require a mindset and culture change that does not occur, i.e., the new systems require people to share information across strongly held boundaries or put the needs of the enterprise over their own turf agendas. Without these changes in attitude and behaviour, people do not use the technology as designed and the change fails to deliver its objective.
From my perspective, the issues that need urgent attention are the transformation of Malaysian Institution of Education. When the country became independent in 1957 Malaysia educational system was acknowledged to be amongst the best in the region. Whether it is in primary, secondary or tertiary education, the rot is clear. But now, half literate primary school products that cannot write or speak properly in either English or Bahasa and drop out early; secondary students with abysmal standards in Mathematics, Science and other core subjects; tertiary students who are provided with university degrees but in fact are unemployable except in the civil service. This is the result of the politicisation of the educational system and UMNO’s cynical use of it as a political and racial football. The problem is from the government itself who has inserted its racial and political agenda to debase and corrupt the system. According to the national education blueprint (Preliminary report, Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, pp, E4-E5), Malaysia was ranked in the bottom third of 74 participating countries of the programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009. Malaysia once again fared poorly in a world student performance assessment test conducted in 2012, ending up in the bottom quarter among 44 countries – a result that reinforces the concern that the country’s education system is in tatters.
60% of the 15-year-old Malaysian students who participated in Pisa failed to meet the minimum proficiency level in Mathematics, while 44% and 43% did not meet the minimum proficiency levels in Reading and Science respectively. A comparison of scores shows that 15-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are performing as though they have had three or more years of schooling than 15-year-olds in Malaysia. Low achievement standards in TIMSS (Maths and Science): far behind first tier; now comparable to countries such as Indonesia. By 2007 (last published cycle) 18% and 20% of our students failed to meet the minimum proficiency standards in Maths and Science (Malaysia’s education disaster – time for change, 2012) The conclusion of the blueprint is shocking. Not only are the gaps between Malaysia and other countries in our region growing, international assessments also revealed that Malaysian student performance is declining in absolute terms. This is where Transformations on Malaysia education system have to take place and this the only way to level Malaysia on par with other developed countries. Conclusion
Transformation of or large organization is far more challenging for two distinct reasons. First, the future state is unknown when you begin, and is determined through trial and error as new information is gathered. This makes it impossible to “manage” transformation with pre-determined, time-bound and linear project plans. You can have an over-arching change strategy, but the actual change process literally must “emerge” as you go. This means that your executives, managers and frontline workers alike must operate in the unknown—that scary, unpredictable place where stress skyrockets and emotions run high.
Second, the future state is so radically different than the current state that the people and culture must change to implement it successfully. New mindsets and behaviors are required. In fact, often leaders and workers must shift their worldviews to even invent the required new future, let alone operate it effectively. Without these “inner” shifts of mindset and culture, the “external” implementation of new structures, systems, processes or technology do not produce their intended objective.
One of the biggest reasons that change efforts fail is that theystart with management thinking that people will care much more than they actually do. They think that if they broadcast orcommunicate the benefits,people will rush to embrace the change and become champions. The fact is, people care mostabout what affects them personally and what they can control. Management needs to make a rational argument forchange, but also an emotional appeal as well.
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