Management Critical Essay

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Managers manage people and processes. Management is the method by which they do so. However, these simple definitions belie the complexity of a manager’s role.

An examination of the management literature reveals a variety of constructs designed to allow an analysis of the functions of management and the roles of managers who perform the management task. These constructs can be broadly categorised into technical processes (with a scientific basis) and social processes (with a human relations basis). This essay examines the technical and social processes of management by firstly defining each of the processes. This is followed by a discussion of the implications for practising managers of the relationships between the two.

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Through these frames the organisation is presented as a complex and moving sea of individual interactions, wants and needs – a compelling and revealing view which is not often found in the pages of management texts.

Discussions on social process of management in popular management texts is usually limited to a discussion of the behavioural management perspective typified by the Hawthorne studies, the human relations movement and the field of organisational behaviour. Davidson et al. (2006, pp. 44-47) and Bartol et al. (2005, pp. 39-45) as an example pay brief attention to the social processes of management.. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs (Davidson et al., p. 513) and McGregor’s’ advocacy of a Theory Y people-centric approach to management (Davidson et al., p. 46) are discussed as cornerstones of the human relations movement. The Air New Zealand (Air NZ) story is an exemplar of successful implementation of a human relations perspective which has an underlying philosophy that concern for workers would lead to employee satisfaction, which would in turn increase productivity.

Air NZ has experienced a massive turnaround in fortunes since 2001 and it has all been built on a basis of compassion for and interaction with staff. Ralph Norris, CEO of Air NZ from 2002 to 2005 was famously quoted as saying ‘I look after the staff, they look after the customers and the customers will look after the shareholders’. When he took the helm, Air NZ had just written

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