Management Culture and Leadership Mini Essays Requirements
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical base of organisational analysis and management, at operational and strategic levels
2. Critically assess theoretical models and frameworks as vehicles of organisational analysis and management practice.
a) For each of the 3 topics below, write a 500 word mini-essay critically reviewing the statement made. Ensure that you bring in concepts and arguments that are for and against the statement being reviewed. Ensure that each essay is fully referenced and has a complete reference list at the end.
1. ‘Management is the only way for human beings to be controlled’ (Parker, 2002 Against Management Cambridge Polity)
2. A culture is not something an organisation has; it’s something an organization is (Pacanowsky and O’Donnell-Trujillo, 1982 ‘Communication and Organisational Cultures’ The Western Journal of Speech Communication 46 pp 115 – 130)
3. Leadership is not just something one does, but it is more crucially, who one is and how we relate to others (Cunliffe, 2009A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Management. Sage: London)
You should write a mini essay for each of the three statements. You are NOT reviewing the articles/books from which they came: instead you are taking the statement and considering the arguments for and against that particular statement. You should therefore read widely, and consider how different ideas and concepts support or not the general idea expressed in the statement. You need to do this critically, building up lines of argument. You will need to bring in a wide range of sources, and ensure they are properly referenced.
b) Write a 500 word mini-essay identifying links between management, leadership and organisational culture. Use examples from the management literature to support your argument. Ensure that the essay is fully referenced and has a complete reference list at the end.
You should explore the idea that there are links between the three areas, that of management, leadership and culture. Using academic sources you should look at what those links are, and why they seem important. You should identify different viewpoints as to what those links are. You will need to reference fully.
c) Write a 500 word reflection identifying what learning you took from undertaking this assignment, and how it has informed your thinking about management (reminder: in the 500 word reflection, you are not being asked to repeat the knowledge that you have gained through the module. Reflecting on your work means analysing your personal learning and working out how you can build on your strengths and developing your weaknesses.)
This should be written in the FIRST person as a reflection on your own learning from doing this assignment. You can use a reflective model if you wish, but this is not necessary. The reflection should demonstrate an awareness of your own learning, how it has developed through ding this exercise, and what you will take forward into your further study.
Management, Culture, and Leadership
Management is one of the most essential functions in any organization. There is no standard definition of management, and instead, it is described as being the sum of the functions of planning, organizing, controlling and directing an organizations resources. Management as a model has been used to attain organizational goals for as long as organizations have existed. However, in recent times, the management model has been challenged by some. A brief review of the arguments for and against the use of management as a tool to achieve control is provided.
Management is viewed as a robust system of organizing and coordinating organizational resources in order to attain organizational goals. Management allows managers to exercise control over the organization and its employees (P. Drucker 2012). Through practices such as motivation, they are able to improve productivity amongst employees. Without management, there are so centres of control and there is therefore no sense of direction within the organization. In fact, when it comes to controlling people, there is an entire field dedicated to the human resource aspect. Human resource management as a distinct branch of management enables manager to acquire and efficiently deploy the right type of talent required to attain organizational goals (Armstrong 2006). Human resource managers are appointed with a view to improving the management of employees, who are viewed as a resource, the human resource.
The long-standing nature of management as a model has been opposed. Parker (2002) contends that there are other ways to achieve managerial functions such as control and organization without necessarily resulting to managerialism. Other arguments do not appear to be explicitly opposed to management, but rather, to those management styles which afford employees less autonomy. Within a knowledge-based economy, such as the one that the world is increasingly tending towards, it will not only be essential, but also imperative that workers are given greater autonomy. Indeed, organizations have experienced drastic changes occasioned in part by advances in technology. Moreover, there have also been shifts in economy from product-based economies to service-based economies (Drucker 1999). Organizations have in turn become less mechanical and more organic. Since many mechanical tasks can easily be executed using technological tools, employees are increasingly required to be skilled and knowledgeable. Moreover, within a technological environment, changes occur rapidly. Consequently, there is a need to grant employees greater self-reliance.
Indeed, based on this assessment of the
evolution of the organization, it appears that the traditional management model
is increasingly becoming obsolete. When it comes to control, the need for
control is itself diminishing. Changes in the nature of jobs and their
requirements mean that jobs are increasingly become technical. Due to the
nature of these jobs, it is sometimes the case that employees are more
knowledgeable or possess greater expertise than those managing them. Consequently,
it may be the case that faster decision making would occur if those at the
lower levels had the knowledge that management has (Ghoshal and Bartlett 1997). If employees
possess more knowledge than managers, then it would be inappropriate for
managers to overturn employee decisions. Moreover, such actions may lead to a
decline in employee motivation leading to a decline in productivity.
Armstrong, M. 2006. A handbook of human resource management practice. London: Kogan Page.
Drucker, Peter F. 1999. Management Challenges for the 21st Century. New York: HarperBusiness.
Drucker, Peter. 2012. The Practice of Management. New York: Routledge.
Ghoshal, Sumantra, and Christopher A. Bartlett. 1997. Corporation: A Fundamentally New Approach to Management. New York: HarperBusiness.
Parker, 2002 Against Management
Leadership is one of the most complex and diverse topics when it comes to organizational management. In its most basic sense, leadership refers to the ability to influence others (followers) to pursue a desired goal or course of action. The complexity of the nature of leadership arises from the fact that it is highly dependent on the context within which it is applied. Different contexts and different situations have different leadership requirements. While this view of leadership is more functional, leadership may also be perceived as a habit and characteristics of an individual.
Leadership from a functional perspective may be perceived as chiefly pertaining to the functions of the leader. This may better be interpreted by considering leadership under various approaches that are based on what the leader is viewed to be doing. Transactional leaders use transactions and exchanges. Leaders reward followers, or employees based on their compliance to set tasks and guidelines. With this approach, the focus is on the attainment of tasks (task-oriented), rather than the establishment and attainment of shared team values (employee-orientation) (Bass, 2008). Leaders under this approach focus on ensuring that the tasks, expectations, and rewards are well understood by employees (Ruggieri & Abbate, 2013). Under another approach, transformational leadership, the leader inspires and motivates employees to work on the goals of the team (Sims, et al., 2009). The leader develops inspiring and compelling missions that are usually clear and attractive (Wright, Moynihan, & Pandey, 2012). Under each of these two approaches, the leader performs certain functions aimed at influencing the followers, and this is what defines him/her as a leader.
The above view corresponds more to the
thought of leadership rather than a leader. When one considers who a leader is
from the above description, the result is a more deductive one that addresses
functions of a leader. Another school of thought on leadership is that leadership
is who one is. For example, one of the characteristics of a leader under the
transformational approach is charisma. A leader is a charismatic individual,
with the ability to influence others. Charismatic leadership describes how much
leaders are able to serve as role models to their followers (Lai, 2011). A leader who is charismatic is able to influence his followers and
to convince them to agree to his ideas easily without forcing or coercing them (Griffin
& Moorhead, 2011)
but rather by being persuasive. Another quality of a leader is that he should
be confident. According to Champoux, self-confidence is an important leadership
trait alongside intelligence and dominance (2010). He is a figurehead and a
role model to people in the organization. People look up to him for direction
as well as for motivation. Hellriegel & Slocum point that a leader assists
his followers to develop to higher levels of readiness (2007). Moreover, since
people in the organization work under the instruction of their leader, he
should have a positive outlook on the organization’s future. A good leader
should be optimistic and provide hope for the organization. Optimism is
important for the employees since according to Griffin & Moorhead,
optimistic workers have an overall sense of wellbeing (2011).
Bass, BM. 2008. The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. 4th Edition. New York: Free Press.
Champoux, Joseph E. 2010. Organizational Behavior. London: Routledge.
Griffin, Ricky W., and Gregory Moorhead. 2011. Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations. Mason OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning.
Hellriegel, Don, and John W. Slocum. 2007. Organizational Behavior. Mason, OH: South West, Cengage Learning.
Ruggieri, Stefano, and Costanza Scaffidi Abbate. 2013. “Leadership style, self-sacrifice, and team identification.” Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal 1171-1178.
Schermerhorn, John R. 2011. Organizational Behavior. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Sims, HP, S Faraj, and S Yun. 2009. “When should a leader be directive or empowering? How to develop your own situational theory of leadership.” Business Horizons 52 (2): 149-158.
Wagner, John A., and John R.Hollenbeck. 2010. Organizational Behavior: Securing Competitive Advantage. New York: Routledge.
Wright, B. E., D. P. Moynihan, and S. K.
Pandey. 2012. “Pulling the levers: Transformational leadership, public
service motivation, and mission valence.” Public Administration Review
72 (2): 206-215.
Culture refers to a set of shared beliefs, norms, values and practices within members belonging to a particular group. One such group, for example, is the organization. Within organizations, aspects of culture are evident. Culture arises from the people comprising an organization, and at the same time, influences the actions of the members of a given organization. Culture may therefore be thought of as something that the organization is, albeit it is also sometimes perceived as something the organization has.
In thinking of culture as something the organization has, the arguments appear to be rather deductive. They evaluate organizational culture and identify characteristics of that culture. Culture is underpinned by various precepts, such as uniformity (Ismat & Bashir, 2011). Uniformity implies that individuals of a particular culture have similarities in their tendencies that are significantly different and distinguishable from those of others of a different culture. Some of the most basic and most important distinguishing factors of culture include language, values, attitudes, religion, customs and norms (Rugman & Collinson, 2012). These factors form the basis of cultural identity. They also usually constitute the point of distinction and the source of conflict. While this may lead one to perceive culture as the outcome of interactions, it is instead more than this, and actually regards the sum of their beliefs.
Culture may, more importantly, be viewed as something the organization is. Such a perspective does not attempt to deductively identify the components of culture. Rather, it views the culture of the organization as characterizing that organization. For example, organizational culture essentially refers to the organizational tendencies of the members of an organization (Rugman & Collinson, 2012). It is how these members of the organization behave and in this sense, it is not something the organization has but rather, something it experiences. As a part of their life, it is usually brought out in their day-to-day interactions. Culture is however not static, and in fact evolves based on interactions of members as well as due to the influences of the external environment. Another aspect which portrays culture as something that the organization has, is that it provides a distinction between different organizations because different organizations are comprised of many different variables (Ismat & Bashir, 2011). Culture provides each organization with its own identity. Culture arises out of the interaction of these composite of factors, different cultures develop under different composites, leading to differentiation in these organizations.
One of the more salient features of culture
is language. An analysis of the meaning of language further provides insight
into the perspective of culture as something the organization is. Welch and
welch suggest that language is “a mental model, framing activity and behaviour”
(2008, p. 341). This notion of language proposes two dynamics. The first is the
mental model while the second is the framing of activity and behaviour. Thus,
the words used in a particular language involve mental activity through
modelling and they further serve to frame behaviour and activity. In this way,
culture is something that the organization is. The aspects of culture influence
behaviour and activity, whereby this behaviour and activity is what defines the
Ismat, Sunober, and Iram Bashir. 2011. “Determinants of Culture: An Analytical Study of Business Organizations Working in Faisalabad, Pakistan.” Asian Social Science 7 (6): 177-183.
Rugman, Alan M., and Simon Collinson. 2012. International Business. 6th. Harlow England: Palgrave.
Welch, D.E, and L.S. Welch. 2008. “The importance of language in international knowledge transfer.” Management International Review 48 (3): 339-360.
The Link Between Leadership, Management, and Culture
Leadership, management and culture are closely intertwined. Leadership is a part of management, while culture provides the context within which this process occurs. Leaders are considered manager, though not all managers are considered leaders. There is a close and overlapping association between leadership and culture. It has been noted that leadership is important in influencing the orientation of the members of an organization towards a particular set of goals, or method of working. Additionally, corporate culture has been identified as the behavioural tendency of members of an organization. Ergo, leadership is an intermediary to organizational culture. Certain researchers have found a strong correlation between culture and leadership. For example, Mosley & Patrick, (2011) argue that leadership styles create a particular culture, which over time reinforces that particular leadership style.
Conversely, other researchers indicate that culture acts as an intermediary to leadership. Lee & Liu (2012) indicate that differences in culture influence the behaviour of leaders. On their part, Ogbonna & Harris, (2000) indicate that organizational culture is an intermediary to the effect of leadership on firm performance. In any organization, managers or leaders deal with a diversity of human personalities (Lee & Liu, 2012). This underpins the importance of cultural dimensions in assessing the impact of culture on leadership. Liu and Lee (2012) find that cultural dimensions have a significant influence on the transformational leadership process and that as such; managers must learn culture and modify their behaviour when dealing with subordinates. Through a deductive process of logic, one can infer that a lack of cultural dimensions reduces the ability of leaders to understand their followers. This may lead to poor leadership styles and practices.
Culture and leadership have strong influences on the management process. For example, human resource management is the process that addresses the human resource component of the organization. For example, one aspect of managing employees is performance management. It is the key process through which the work in an organization is actually accomplished, and as such, it is an area of prime priority for managers (Gruman & Saks, 2011). This process extends to other areas of the organization such as policy, practices, and design features, which in their interaction produce performance (Gruman & Saks, 2011). Through performance management, different HR strategies are integrated. In the performance management process, an integrated approach is adopted whereby managers, working closely with employees, set expectations, measure and review performance, and reward performance with the purpose of improving employee performance (Farndale, et al., 2011). The ultimate aim is to enhance organizational success.
One way through which managers influence
the productivity of their employees is through motivation. The leadership style
adopted greatly influences the motivation of employees. For example,
transformational leadership empowers employees and therefore motivates them. In
fact, one of the underpinnings of a transformative approach is to create a
compelling vision which inspires and motivates employees (Wright, Moynihan, & Pandey, 2012). An effective
corporate culture enhances an overall sense of community and shared identity,
which Rugman and Collinson (2012) argue are key underpinnings of effective
Farndale, Elaine, Veronica Hope-Hailey, and Clare Kelliher. 2011. “High commitment performance management: the roles of justice and trust.” Personnel Review 40 (1): 5-23.
Gruman, Jamie A., and Alan M. Saks. 2011. “Performance management and employee engagement.” Human Resource Management Review 21 (2): 123-136.
Johnson, Whittington, Angwin Scholes, and Regner. 2013. Exploring Strategy – Text and Cases. Tenth. London: Pearson Higher Ed.
Lee, Yueh-Shian, and Weng-Kun Liu. 2012. “Leadership Behaviors and Culture Dimensions in the Financial Industry.” Journal of Applied Finance and Banking 2 (2): 15-44.
Liu, W. K. & Lee, Y. S., 2012. Assessment of Cultural Dimensions, Leadership Behaviors and
Mosley, D. C. & Patrick, D. K., 2011. Leadership and Followership: The Dynamic Process of Building High Performance Cultures. Organization Development Journal, 29(2), pp. 85-100.
Ogbonna, E. & Harris, L., 2000. Leadership style, organizational culture and performance: empirical evidence from UK companies. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(4), pp. 766-88..
Wright, B. E., D. P. Moynihan, and S. K. Pandey. 2012. “Pulling the levers: Transformational leadership, public service motivation, and mission valence.” Public Administration Review 72 (2): 206-215.
Reflection on Leadership, Management, and Culture
The review of the various topics and the assessment of the statements has been essential in ratifying my own views on management. One of the lessons that I have learnt is that neither management nor leadership is static. Leadership is more than just a function, but rather, it is a behaviour. There are certain traits that are essential for leadership. It is therefore necessary that I work on such areas, since unlike leadership approaches, such aspects cannot be learned. For example, confidence is an important trait for leaders who have a mandate of inspiring their followers towards achieving the team goal. Confidence here envisages not just self-confidence, but also confidence in one’s abilities, otherwise referred to as self-efficacy.
Management is more about controlling and directing, and tends to be highly technical. Managers tend to be more concerned about stamping their influence. I feel that a highly managerial approach may impede attainment of goals, since it will breed a culture that is rather rigid. Instead, what is required is a leadership approach. Leadership, when exercised correctly, will involve influencing followers. Through a charismatic approach, one is able to persuade followers rather than coerce or force them. This is better since it also improves the implicit motivation of the employees. I feel that pursuing a leadership approach will be essential in breeding a culture of inclusiveness and making the followers feel that they are part of the enterprise.
Culture is what an organization is, and not just what an organization has. For me, this is an important lesson because it means that the culture is influenced by the members of the organization. Thus, if the members are unmotivated or dissatisfied, the organizational culture becomes one of demotivation or dissatisfaction. The culture emerges out of the actions of the organization, with the leader/manager playing an important role in influencing this process. thus, if I adopt a leadership approach that causes followers to be motivated and energetic, then the organizational culture will be a highly motivated and energetic one.
Another important lesson is about the dynamic nature of the organization, and the changing nature of the relationship between stakeholders. Increasingly, managers are finding that they are less knowledge than their subordinates, as tasks become more specialized. For me, this is important in influencing my decision-making. The manager must increasingly become less of a manager, and focus more on facilitating resources. The manager is becoming less and less of a knowledge resource, and more of a human resource. The role of the manager appears to be moving towards the facilitation of the interaction of different organization resources, including people. I therefore perceive that as a manager, more will be required of me at the interpersonal level and less at the technical knowledge level. This is evermore so true in this era of the highly specialized manager or the MBA. Consequently, I will endeavour to develop these skills set, which will include traits such as confidence and passion and skills such as communication. The evolving role of the manager is one area that I would like to look into.