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Future of Management essay

The future of management as it relates to organization and their structures is already taking shape in innovative and forward thinking companies. The newer models will become more and more the norm as time goes on. Corporations large and small have realized that the old paradigm of top-down management is often too cumbersome and too slow and in many cases simply too outdated to be effective in today’s fast-paced economy. The traditional hierarchal structure may allow top management to feel as if they are in control of the organization, but the reality is that pressures from the marketplace demand that organizations become more flexible, agile and highly responsive to customers. If unresponsive Company A cannot deliver what the customer wants quickly, then flexible Company B will do so in a heartbeat. In addition, globalization has increased competition tremendously. In order to survive and especially to thrive, organizations must adopt the most innovative structure they can accomplish.

In recognition that hierarchal structures are too rigid to provide speed and agility in meeting consumer demands some organizations have flattened out their structures and many more will do so in the future. They have replaced individuals, functions or departments as the basic work unit with teams of individuals as the basic work unit. The team members are brought together for their expertise and knowledge about a specific project or company function. In teams, there is no formal hierarchy; everyone has a role to play that is not determined by position but by their ability to move the project forward.

Networks are another management trend of the future that flattens out organizational structure and enhances agility. Networks may be formal or informal. In either case they link together managers of various departments who communicate and work together as a multidisciplinary team. Added to the formal and informal network is the electronic network. Globalization has developed rapidly along with the Internet creating the ability to form networks across international lines. E-mail, intranets, and extranets have created the ability for companies to develop workgroups locally, nationally and internationally that can communicate and share information as easily as if they were down the hall from each other.

Some organizations make such extensive use of teams and networks that they are called boundary-less. These organizations pierce both the vertical chain of command boundaries and the horizontal departmental boundaries making it very easy for teams and networks to function.

All managers are in the position of leadership, however, all managers are not leaders. However, leaders are very often managers. In the future, the heads of major organizations will not function as “the boss.” To be successful they will have to be leaders, people who have the ability to motivate people to work willingly towards achieving the goals of the company. They must know how to articulate a vision in such a way that others see it as worthy of their time and energy. Dessler identifies four sets of actions that leaders use. He describes them as “Think like a leader; provide a vision; use the right leadership style; and apply organizational behavior skills such as motivating.” (Dessler. (2003). The leader of the future will function as a mentor by taking a personal interest in specific employees. That leader may even mentor a particular person to step into his or her shoes. At other times the leader may act as a coach, encouraging and challenging employees to reach their full potential. This kind of leader/coach will take pride in seeing others succeed even if that person move to a higher level than the leader/coach himself.

The trend towards diverse organizational structures demands that the managers of the future function more and more like leaders. They will need strong leadership skills to inspire employees to support the mission and vision of the organization. “The boss” will soon be a thing of the past, except in specific situations.

Information Technology is developing at the speed of light. Already, every
Manager needs technological competence to even function in the business world. There are few if any organizations that can be effective without at least one strong IT person on staff. The employees who once spent their days handling the computers working in the back room in virtual obscurity, now sits in board rooms and commands titles such as Vice President of Information Technology.
Speed will be the most significant change in the four functions of management. The profound effect of the spread of technology means that more and more people all over the world will continue to gain access to more and more information. As knowledge proliferates, so will demand on productivity. All four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling must be approached with an eye towards the future and the knowledge that the future is really now. A business plan that does not allow for rapid change within its industry could be out of date before it is ever implemented. Organizations will be structured to manage knowledge as well as people. Teams, networks and boundary-less organizations will allow employees to operate with more autonomy. Managers will no longer think of themselves as just managers. They will need strong leadership skills in order to inspire sophisticated, knowledgeable, technologically savvy employees with a vision worthy of their effort. Finally, controlling employee productivity and commitment will require excellent leadership skills in an environment of empowerment and more loosely structured organizations. Managers of the future must learn to inspire employees to control themselves based on shared values and a commitment to the organization and its goals.

The future of business is exciting and challenging. Organizations have the opportunity to compete in an environment that can only make them stronger. The fast-paced economy, the lightening fast growth in technology and knowledge provide super challenges. However, organizations are proving themselves up to the challenge. They are learning how to streamline their structures by developing effective teams and network structures, and many of them are not afraid to pierce boundaries if they see that it will make the company more competitive. The challenges presented by globalization are being met daily. With more and more knowledge being shared by more and more employees, managers recognize that they must also be leaders rather than bosses. They have accepted the challenge to become visionaries, mentors, coaches and team leaders. They have also accepted the enormous challenge of redefining the functions of management and they are learning to manage at the speed of light.

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