The manager role in today’s fast paced society. This paper will explore what role does the manager play within an organization and its employees
In the conditions of today’s market economy managers have crucial influence on the success and prosperity of each separate enterprise. As managers play such an important role in economic growth of the company as well as the whole state, their activities should be consistent with primary social values and goals. Nowadays environmental deprivation and increasing poverty all over the world are considered to be among the most urgent concerns of society. In this paper on the base of two guest lectures, “Transformational Leadership” and “Sustainability – your #1 priority?” characteristics of new and unstructured external issues that impinge on organizational performance will be detected and importance of the changing nature of work by individual business managers now and in the future will be discussed. Careful analysis of these two lectures allows finding such external issues influencing managerial work as depletion of natural resources, worsening inequality in many countries and rapid growth of big corporations.
Principles of sustainable development in the base of managers’ future practice
Growing rates of consumption of natural resources in recent years and progressive environmental pollution generated various theories about the future ensuring people with these resources. Variety of scientists emphasize on the potential depletion of natural resources and the onset of hunger. This is especially true of non-renewable natural resources – minerals and fuels. Statistics concerning these facts is indeed threatening. For instance, it is known that scientists make disconsolate forecasts of end-of-life for 60 essential metals. Many of those metals are considered to be exhausted by more than half (UNEP, 2011). If taking a look at the rates of regional resource consumption per capita it becomes clear that resource consumption by most of the countries is much higher than the level of acceptable sustainable consumption (Dittrich et al., 2012). What is more, humanity is regarded to be in “overshoot” as it is counted that we need 1.5 planets to sustain us (Global Footprint Network, 2014).
Mentioned problems make humanity search for new areas, objects and methods of extraction and processing of minerals and energy resources. In addition, the rejection of social philosophy of “consumer society” and a significant reduction in unnecessary costs for several generations are considered to be the most significant ways of world’s development. On the other words, sustainable development is becoming the key priority for the world. According to the most frequently quoted definition of the term “sustainable development” from “Our Common Future”, also known as the Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs” (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).
For implementing such a complex strategy of sustainable development the cooperation of the whole society is needed. As our capitalist system consists of government, investors, financial markets, business and citizens, it is necessary to draw all of them into the process of developing and implementing the conception of sustainable development. The philosophy of people’s consumption should be reviewed and radically changed. As business organizations are considered to be one of the most influential subjects of the social structure, huge part of work concerning the “sustainable development” has to be laid on them. It is well-known that depressions followed by innovation, which in its turn are being developed by companies and their genius workers. Business nowadays is being created not just for a profit but also for making a positive difference to people and communities as well as a positive difference to the environment. Taking into account high importance of managers’ role in the life way of the company, it is reasonable to suppose that managers’ responsibility for implementing the principles of sustainable development in their firms and within their subordinate is going to grow unceasingly. Primarily it is up to the companies’ managers to motivate their personnel to work in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Frederic Laloux claimed: “The general rule seems to be that the consciousness of an organization cannot exceed the level of consciousness of its leader” (Gerndt, 2014). Obviously, influential orders and behavioral example of the manager might influence on the workers, on the way they act and think. What is more is that companies today are the appearance of our current world, our phase of progress. Thus the level of consciousness is increasing within people. This is depicted below in figure 1.
Figure 1: Human Development adapted from Gerndt
Business by itself has to change its working values. Apparently, during most of last decades key values of business were the following: many consumers, right-wing politics, huge role of financial institutions, major corporates. However, starting from nowadays big companies should include into their strategy new essential values, particularly following green politics, NGO’s charities and grassroots movements, which have potential to contribute to sustainability. Consequently, managers are supposed to promote such kind of politics within the companies and to emphasize on their importance. The concern about the world’s sustainable development should become the concern for each separate manager and should change crucially the nature of individual business managers’ work in the nearest future.
As Grecu and Nate (2014) notice, “The concept of sustainability is complex, interdisciplinary and contested. Approaches to sustainable businesses may range from the development of new technologies for increased efficiency to reframing technological uses and pursuing more fundamental changes within the ingrained culture of the organization”. Managers from every separate company have to choose concrete strategy of promoting the principles of sustainable development in their company. Though these strategies are highly dependent on the company’s specialization and on kinds of workers, most of them have to be based on the principles of optimal use of limited resources and use of environmentally friendly-, energy-, and material-saving technologies, including the extraction and processing of raw materials, the creation of environmentally friendly products, minimization, recycling and disposal of wastes. Every single action of worker has to be done in accordance with claimed principles, and it is up to manager to create motivation for employees and appropriate conditions for workers could cope with such task.
Poverty alleviation as a motivator for great managers
The second crucial concern the note of which should be taken by managers and leaders in their future practice is worsening inequality in many countries. It is not a new fact that while a part of world’s population lives in prosperity, there is still a high percentage of population who lives below the poverty line and simply does not have enough food and water. As Gini coefficient, counted by The World Bank in 2014, shows, in most African, South American and Asian countries there is more income inequality than in highly developed countries (The World Bank, 2014). Consequently, this is one of the most urgent tasks for the world to diminish the level of such poverty and income inequality between peoples.
Undoubtedly, there is variety of reasons which cause this disparity tendency. This might be economic, social, political, demographical, educational, political, geographical and other causes which have negative impacts on the level of the prosperity of country and its citizens. However, while trying to find the solving for this problem on the micro level, it is reasonable to notice that every distinct company together with its managerial personnel influence crucially on financial state of its workers. It is up to the companies and their managers to establish appropriate working conditions, to offer dignified level of salary for employees and to give them suitable social security. That is why, every smart, intelligent and highly moral manager and leader is supposed to establish the functioning of his or her company in the way able to contribute not just to the prosperity of themselves but also to financial well-being of their subordinates.
Manager is one of the most needed people in the company which functioning determines the level of the whole company’s success. Mintzberg defined three major categories of managerial roles – informational, interpersonal and decisional. Each of mentioned categories includes some specific roles. Informational roles include disseminator, monitor and spokesperson. Interpersonal roles include leader, figurehead and liaison. Decisional roles consist of entrepreneur, negotiator, resource allocator and disturbance handler (Mintzberg, 2009). Also, it is known that there are four major managerial functions: planning, directing, controlling and organizing. If manager copes successfully with these functions, the company and its workers might work more obstinately and as a result more effectively.
Moreover, it is well-known that the primary task of the manager is to organize the work of employee stuff in such way which contributes to establishment highly effective working process. Apparently, this task is not the easiest one, and to be able to successfully cope with it, manager should choose wise strategy of interacting with the employees. According to Marcus Buckingham, which has done in-depth research of this problem, the crucial dissimilarity between average manager and a great one is that really great manager discovers uniqueness of every single worker and capitalizes on this (Buckingham, 2005). Using such individualistic approach by the manager is a certain way to increasing the effectiveness of each worker separately, and as a result, growing the business’ flourish. As Buckingham (2005) notices in his article “What Great Managers Do”, “Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack”. In addition, each wise manager has to be accustomed with the worker’s strengths, the triggers which stimulate those strengths, and the learning modality of the worker. On the other words, successful managers are only those who can recognize and deploy the dissimilarities among personnel and challenge each worker to excel in his or her particular way. In case the manager has mentioned features, there is a higher possibility of successful financial results of the company as well as financial state every single worker of such company. Thus, if supposedly every manager in every company from the country care about its personnel and stimulate high effectiveness of their work the rate of people’s income would increase as well as the financial state of the whole country would become better.
Influence of increasing role of big corporations on managerial performance
The third external issue that might impinge on organizational performance is a rapid growth of big corporations. As it is noticed in the web-site of the World Development Movement, “Our public services, environment and democracy are under threat from the biggest corporate power grab in a decade. Behind closed doors, the EU is drawing up a dangerous new trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (World Development Movement). Big corporations, which attract huge investments and innovations for their functioning, are severe competitors, and huge efforts have to be attracted by companies to deal with their opponents.
The concern about increasing big corporations’ role has to be one of the most essential motivators for managers. In order to survive in the conditions of extremely competitive market, which includes extremely developed, influential and rich corporations, managers have to rule the company in the most possible wise, effective and constructive way. Great knowledge and high level of creativity have to be implied by managers in order to cope with their work. To cope with this external issue in the nearest future managers indeed have to be not just average managers but leaders. Leadership in this case has to be understood as an attitude and state of mind and a state of being open and resourceful. Managers-leaders know how to create a community at work, establish successful teamwork, understand what motivates and stimulates people. The most effective managers, which deserve being called “the managers of the future”, are those who are able to create leaders around themselves. Also, leaders engage people in understanding why a change is needed and how they can act to change it. On the other words, manager has to be able to create the environment in which people can be the best they can be. The company might access successful results in case it has managers with the qualities of leaders at all levels, and all these managers have to know how to create integration and processes that carry ideas, resources, information and competence between areas and functions as well as create an open space. In this case there is a possibility to cope with the high competiveness of big corporations.
Taking everything into account, there is a set of external issues that might impinge on organizational performance of the companies. These issues are depletion of natural resources, worsening inequality in many countries and rapid growth of big corporations. Each of these problems will have severe impact on the world’s economy and principles of managerial work. Firstly, these are managers who are supposed to promote the principles of sustainable development within the companies’ employees. Secondly, great managers, who are able to further higher financial results of the firms, should work harder in the future in order to make contributions to the poverty alleviation. Thirdly, flourishing of epoch of big corporations might affect managers’ work. Because of these issues in the nearest future individual business managers are obliged to take note of these concerns in their future practice and significantly change the accents of the nature of their work starting from nowadays. This interdependence of the managerial work’s values and global external issues is one of the most urgent problems for the humanity. Consequently, as this interdependency might determine the future development of the world, it deserves further persistent inquiry.
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