Things Done Through People

“Contemporary managers are required to solve problems in all areas of operations but the most challenging issues always relate to people. ” It can be said that the most challenging issue for a contemporary manger to solve, is people. The term “people” does not necessarily always represent the employees, it can also mean the manager himself, or those who own the organisation.

It can be said that if an organisation employs the appropriate workers for the job in hand, and manages their manager’s and employee’s productively, then there should be limited issues related to people. Traditional management is not as effective in today’s faster-paced world (Drucker (b), Date Unknown) as it had been seen up to the twentieth-century (AllBusiness, Date Unknown), and so traditional management was adapted and changed to be now be known as contemporary management.

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This new approach to management was designed to meet the demands of the business world, prioritising the development of the employees (Drucker (a), Date Unknown). Taylorism’s scientific school of management thought (Bennett, 1997), also known as scientific management (Winslow Taylor, 1967) will not be successful in today’s society as this structure provides no opportunity for change, such as absence, leave or development. Taylor developed a science for every job, including working times for each objective, rules and appropriate working conditions.

Taylor would then train these workers to perform their work to his acceptance and providing incentives with the job (Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia, Date Unknown; DuBrin (b), 2003). Bennett (1997) claimed that Taylor declared that workers cannot be trusted to complete their tasks without tight supervision, they perform more efficiently with simple tasks, and they are not capable of planning, organising and improving their work without the help of the manager.

This theory puts more pressure on the manager, as their work load will be vigorously increased, as they will have to allow extra time and dedication to their employees to ensure that are constantly supervised. As businesses are growing, Taylor’s theory of management will not work as effectively as it possibly would have done in the traditional management days, as the managers need to concentrate on managing the employees and providing them with the opportunity to explore and develop their skills.

Traditional management showed clear hierarchical stages in the development of workers, whereas contemporary management shows an interaction of the workers (Drucker (a), Date Unknown), for example contemporary management claims that although a worker’s job description is fitness instructor, it does not mean that they cannot carry out some supervisory roles or cleaning roles; whereas in traditional management, a fitness instructor would only carry out instructor duties even if cleaning needed to be completed.

As mentioned, traditional management, such as Taylorism, allows no opportunity or an unwillingness to change (Stark, 2000). This can subsequently produce negative impacts on the organisation (Webster, 2003), such as poor production due to non-change to suit the varying trends. Therefore, the financial sector of the organisation will see a decrease in profits due to not adapting to the change. Contemporary management allows the room for change and involves all colleagues in decision making, although the manager would indefinitely make the final decision.

Webster (2003) defines factors such as a change trends, environment or time of year as “TNTs” (tiny noticeable things), and the success of the organisation depends largely on how well the manager adapts to these factors. Therefore, if the human resource management operates correctly in identifying the needs of the customer, the physical management can provide any additional equipment and materials that the workers may need to sufficiently carry out their duties, which will consequently result in financial gain by adapting to and meeting the needs of the change.

The development of a profitable organisation is established from the highest site of the company: the organisers or owners. For an organisation to develop successfully, the owners of the company must employ a group of individuals firstly to manage each department, and then either themselves or the managers must interview, train, coach and develop employees for the specific roles within the company. By employing managers with various traits, this ensures that the company will include managers with assorted creative ideas and different management styles (Gallagher Hateley and Schmidt (a), 2001).

With having a team of managers with different personalities, leadership and managing styles, it provides the opportunity for the managers to learn from each other, sharing their own experiences and knowledge. When writing up job vacancies, the human resource department must ensure that the person specification is correct for the specific job that is being advertised (Gallagher Hateley and Schmidt (b), 2001); this will prevent unsuitable applicants applying for the position, which will therefore reduce possible time wasting from interviewing these applicants.

By employing suitable candidates for the required position, the organisation would see the immediate benefits of having the most qualified or the most appropriate person in place to carry out the duties of the job, meaning that the organisation would not need to extra spend time and money on as much training for the individual. This will also prevent a loss in motivation and self-worth due to the management changing the worker’s ways, which would evidently decrease finance levels (Gallagher Hateley and Schmidt (b), 2001).

To ensure that the company employs suitable applicants to the organisation, group and individual interviews are ideal, as they portray the individual’s traits in how they communicate and work with other people and individually. Another technique of ensuring the appropriate person is employed for the vacancy is to produce a personality test sheet; the manager interviewing would ask the questions to the potential worker and write the answers down.

The manager has the opportunity to analyse how the interviewee reacts under pressure, shows whether they can use their own initiative – which will evidently put less pressure on the manager as the worker will do what needs to be done, not just what they are asked to do (Nelson, 2002), and it provides the manager with a true reflection on the individual. Unlike traditional management, where the focus was on the business (DuBrin (a), 2003), contemporary management research, such as Robert Owen’s studies (DuBrin (b), 2003) has shown that by focusing on the workers, profitability has increased dramatically.

Appraisals are used to track an employee’s progress and their future training, ensuring they are constantly developed to the correct level and have the opportunity to progress up the ladder and to gain more qualifications. Subsequently, this will increase motivation, resulting in greater performance levels which lead to an increase in profitability for the organisation.

In order for the employees to carry out their duties efficiently, the human resource department, physical resource department and financial department must communicate effecticely with each other to ensure that the workers have the correct tools they need for their work. For example, the employees must inform the human resource department when they require more stock, such as programme cards for the gym, from where the human resource management must inform the physical resource management so they can order the stock.

However, if the financial resource management have not provided their colleagues with the sufficient training, such as data input, the organisation may not have the sufficient funds to purchase the programme cards. To prevent negativity from people in the workplace, the manager must enforce the effective management and leadership style and involvement method for the organisation and for each individual, as each worker will work more effectively with different management and leadership styles.

In order for the manager to prevent the negativity, the manager must firstly understand the reason for the negativity; this is the reason that traditional management is no longer relevant in any current workplace, because in previous times, all ideas and decisions were developed and put in place without any consultation or consideration for the employee’s feelings (Moore, 2009). An involvement method used in contemporary management is to have contribution from all employees in the workplace (Simmonds, 1995; California State University, Date Unknown), at a level matched to their ability and experience (Moore, 2009).

The benefit of the employee’s involvement is that they have a fuller understanding of the business, preventing negative challenges and allowing the employees to understand the reason for changes, and in many cases gain ideas that a manager would not have thought of by themselves. This method is commonly known as hot-housing, best known in the United Kingdom by the Tesco’s group (Moore, 2009). To ensure that this method is accepted by all employees, it involves effective change management, which can only be successful by using the correct management and leadership style, and by understanding each employee’s learning style.

As long as the training put in place has taken into consideration the many variations of learning styles that all people possess, and the manager can adapt the correct leadership and management style to each individual, as well as to initially have the sufficient knowledge and training to be able to effectively implement any training, changes and relevant information required for all employees to productively and contently carry out their duties, there should be no major issues, in particular to people, within the organisation.

Therefore, the organisation should ensure that they primarily employ manager’s that possess traits that will benefit the company, and are able to successfully manage the colleagues, gaining their trust and confidence in their management and leadership styles. Smith (2007) claims that if a manager has carried out the all the available development and training of a colleague, but the colleague still either demonstrates no change, or is resisting to change, then it is best to change the individual.

For example, if the manager follows the company procedures in developing and training the employee through appraisal schemes for example, (where the employee and manager tracks current progress and future plans and developments) but the colleague still shows no change after repetitive reassessment or shows signs of resilience to change, then the option would be to change that individual by replacing them.

As that specific individual is showing no sign or willingness of change or progression, it is costing the organisation more than it should be if they had employment the appropriate worker initially, outlining their future career plans and prospects within the company. To ensure that the team works efficiently and effectively, all managers must make certain that they provide the employees with the motivation they each require.

This can be achieved through individual or group public or private praise, or by present the workers with incentives; for example, for every five people that the gym instructors signs up to the present gym challenge, they receive one point; on gaining five points, the instructor receives four hours off, fully paid. As some colleagues working day will consist of shorter or longer hours than other colleagues, the manager awards all the workers with four hours off if they reach the target so that the amount of time off awarded is equal for all workers.


AllBusiness. (Date Unknown) Mastering “the Art of Getting Things Done Through People”. [Internet] Available from: <http://www. allbusiness. com/human-res ources/workforce-management/12023-1. html> [Accessed 30/01/2009]. Bennett, R. (1997) Part One Introduction To Management, 1 Nature and development of management theory. In Management. 3rd ed. London, Financial Times Pitman Publishing, pp. 3-4.


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