The New Managerial Role
Managers in today’s organizations face a rapidly changing and often unpredictable environment. Large-scale corporate restructuring and layoffs (or “downsizing”) caused in part by mergers and acquisitions mean that today’s managers must identify new and innovative ways to produce more with fewer workers and fewer organizational layers. Attempts to create more profitable, “lean and mean” organizations have resulted in an unexpected by product a sharp decline in perceptions of loyalty between the employee and the organization. In 1993, for example, 77 percent of workers surveyed said that companies were less loyal to employees than five years before. In addition, 60 percent of these workers judged that employees were less loyal to the organization. I As a consequence, today’s managers are challenged to motivate employees who may feel less commitment to their organizations than was previously the norm. The processes and technologies used to accomplish work also are changing, squiring managers to change with them. Total Quality Management, for example, emphasizes employee involvement. It also requires managers to assist workers in learning how to take responsibility for their work, and it requires managers to view workers from a new perspective, that of partners in the decision-making process rather than subordinates. No longer are employees expected “to leave their brains at the door” when they come to work each day. (See OM in Practice box on Employee Suggestions.) In addition, the introduction of fax machines, e-mail, the Internet, and videoconferencing have influenced the speed with which information is available and the way in which employees work together. Wal-Mart, for example, as stated earlier in this text, holds weekly employee meetings via satellite communication. thereby ensuring that everyone in the company receives the same information at the same time. Moreover, the growing use of intranet, which includes ERP systems, opens up entirely new approaches for linking organizations together that had never before been contemplated. These new technologies provide greater employee flexibility by allowing them to work from remote locations, including their homes. As a consequence managers, in many instant census now oversee the work of employees with whom they rarely meet face to face The composition of the workforce is changing as well. In the United States, for example, the number of women and minority group members entering the work force and advancing within organizations continue-, to increase this growing diversity III the workforce, if properly managed, improve creativity and decision making as well as make the organization more responsive e to a wider variety.