What Do Managers Do? Sample Essay

Inch this article. I consider the extent to which the inquiry ‘What do directors make? ’ has been satisfactorily answered by published empirical surveies of mana- gerial work and behavior. Two facets of this endeavor require justification: the applicability of the inquiry posed and the demand for another reappraisal of the grounds.

Surely. the inquiry ‘What do directors make? ’ has an air of naivete. crust. even redundancy about it. Yet it is a inquiry which Is begged by many management-related issues. Arguments that the quality of manage- ment is decisive in both organisational and national economic public presentation presuppose that the entirely ‘managerial’ part to that public presentation is both touchable and identifiable. Claims for managerial authorization constantly rest non upon de facto position and power. but upon an inexplicit ‘job of managing” for which authorization is the necessary resource. The huge and turning industry of direction instruction. preparation and development presumptively rests upon a set of thoughts about what directors do and. hence. what directors are being educated. trained and developed/or. Finally. nowhere is the inquiry of what directors do more insistently begged than in that significant part of the literature on direction which is concerned with ‘effective’ direction ( or managerial effectivity ) .

Indeed ‘effective management’ has ceased to be a purely contingent coupling of adjectival and noun and has become a self apparent object whose causes and accompaniments may be investigated unequivocally. In contrast. I contend that the term ‘effective management’ is a second-order normative statement which presupposes the being of comparatively dependable replies to flrst-order empirical inquiries. For me. ‘effectiveness’ denotes the extent to which what directors really do lucifers what they are supposed to make. This is recognized in a figure of defmitions of ‘managerial effectiveness’ offered in the literature. despite their superflcial differerccs. ”’

A cardinal deduction of this. nevertheless. is less frequendy recognized: that the extent of this congruity can merely be judged one time the two sides ofthe ‘effectiveness equation’ are known Address for reissues: Dr. C. P. Hales. Dcpartmeni of Management Studies for Tourism and Hotel Industries. University of Surrey. Guildford. Surrey GU2 5XH. WHAT DO MANAGERS DO? A CRITICAL REVIEW 89 through empirical observation. It is necessary. hence. to hold dependable grounds on what directors do. in both senses ofthe term ‘do’ . Some ofthe more famed Hagiographas on effectual direction are singularly untalkative about stipulating vohat effectual directors are effectual at’^’ .

It is besides my contention that earlier reappraisals of published grounds on managerial work have non addressed the issue of what directors do in these footings. Mintzberg’s ( 1973 ) reexamine ofthe bing grounds which precedes his ain celebrated survey is now over ten old ages old and there have been a figure of important and sophisticated surveies published since tbat clip. Stewart’s ( 1983 ) more recent reappraisal focuses upon an facet of managerial work – managerial behavior – of which her ain surveies have made such a big part to our cognition. I wish to travel beyond that focal point here chiefly because one of my cardinal statements is that ‘managerial work’ and ‘managers’ behaviour’ are non synonymous. even though many of the published surveies imply tbat they are. Consequently. grounds on managers’ behavior provides merely a partial reply to the inquiry: What do directors make?

After reexamining what I take to be the cardinal findings of the surveies in footings of five chief subjects. each of which. explicitly or implicitly. addresses a peculiar inquiry about managerial work. I will discourse three general limita- tions ofthe bing grounds. First. I argue that the assorted surveies tread a unstable class between lighting fluctuation and bewildering incompatibility and that. notwithstanding tbe profusion of diverseness. there are good statements for the development and usage of more consistent and comparable classs. Second. I suggest that the accent in the surveies on managerial behavior represents a restriction in so far as a context for turn uping and judging Thai behavior is absent. Finally. I question the extent to which the surveies identify work or even behaviour which is inclusively and entirely ‘managerial’ . I seek to demo that each of these restrictions is traceable to a more general involuntariness to see the wider context of managers’ behavior – in peculiar. ‘managerial tasks’ . ‘managerial responsibilities’ and the ‘management function’ – and to develop constructs which permit this consideration.

For the intents of this reappraisal of what is known about what directors do I follow peculiar and needfully restrictive definitions of ‘knowledge’ and ‘managers’ . Equally far as ‘knowledge’ is concerned. at hazard of making considerable force to more sophisticated epistemic justnesss. I distinguish among evidenc^^ theories and theoretical accounts. This reappraisal is chiefly concerned witb published grounds. although it touches on theoretical accounts where these steer the aggregation or order the presentation of grounds. Mention to theories is confmed to bespeaking the comparative absence of links between theory and grounds. Equally far as the term ‘managers’ is concerned. I follow the research workers concerned in following a nominalist definition as a starting point.

That is. I follow Stewart ( 1976 ) in taking a director to be ‘anyone above a certain degree. approximately above chief whether. . . in control of staff or not’ . and for the same ground as Stewart. viz. that I am interested. at least ab initio. in ‘the occupations that90 COLIN P. HALES companies call managerial and which form portion ofthe direction hierarchy for choice. preparation and promotion’ ( Stewart. 1976. p. 4 ) . I hence consider it of greater value to get down by look intoing what those deemed directors do instead than to debate a priori who directors ‘really’ are’*’ . What I do trust to demo. nevertheless. is Thai such an probe does necessarily come up against the job of non merely who directors are. but what ‘management’ is: this issue is one from which the surveies have shied away. in my position to their hurt. WHAT MANAGERS DO: THE EVIDENCE

The absence of both a common/ociw for the research and comparable classs to steer aggregation and presentation of grounds renders the surveies to be reviewed here immune to the hunt for generalizations through procedures of contrast and combination. To re-cast the available grounds into common footings would affect both indefensible reading and considerable deformation. so this reappraisal will take the original classs ofthe research surveies as its get downing point. The surveies reviewed here basically shed visible radiation on five major countries and supply replies to five inexplicit inquiries about managerial work: ( 1 ) The substantial elements of managerial work ( What do directors make? ) ( 2 ) The distribution of managers’ clip between work elements ( How do directors work? )

( 3 ) Interactions: with whom directors work ( With whom do directors work? )
( 4 ) Informal elements of managerial work ( What else do directors make? ) ( 5 ) Themes which pervade managerial work ( What qualities does managerial -work hold? ) . Whilst no single survey or author is concerned with all of these subjects. the subjects and their inexplicit inquiries are repeating and identifiable characteristics ofthe accrued grounds. Hence. I have chosen to group and sort the available stuff in footings o { evidenc^^^ . Whilst this is merely one of a figure of possible alternate ordinations. it does try to put an empirical foundation to the country of survey upon which more luxuriant theories and theoretical accounts may rest. Before sing these countries in more item. it might be utile to name the research surveies which form the major beginnings of grounds. as shown in tabular array I.

For present intents. I will handle the grounds accumulated by the above surveies as a individual entity. It should be recognized. nevertheless. that this grounds is the merchandise of some 30 old ages of surveies. during which clip there have been discernable displacements in focal point. methods and theoretical accounts. Possibly the most clearly discernable of these displacements has been off from the concern in the fiftiess. 1960s.