Ask the above question to most managers and they will likely stare at you as if you were slightly bananas. While all managers have a philosophy, many probably don’t know it and can’t explain it to you. They have generally just accepted whatever management philosophy existed in their organization when they arrived and have tried to work with it over the years for better or worse. While they undoubtedly understand that there are many different ways of doing things, they probably have never tried to put their approach to work or management into a comprehensive philosophy or context.
In the past, a fragmented, unexamined management philosophy may have been tolerable, but not today. Today, it is imperative that managers have a coherent, comprehensive, well thought-out management philosophy and apply it consistently. Otherwise, they will lose out to those managers who do understand what they are doing and why.
If the question above were changed to “What is your management style?” then we would be more likely to get an answer. A manager might answer, “I’m a tough manager. I don’t take any bull.” Or someone might respond, “I’m an easy going person. I leave people alone and let them do their jobs. I only intervene when I absolutely must. I like to be friends with my people.” At least this question gets managers thinking about their approach to management, but only in a very limited way. It is important for the effective manager to go beyond personal style and understand basic concepts related to work and management.
The manager is responsible for creating the work environment. The work environment is a small social system. In effect, the manager is creating a social system. A good manager will create a positive social system consistent with his/her role and values for the society at large. A democratic society, which supports equality, fraternity, liberty, and justice for all, needs managers to support these same concepts within the work system.
Bad management results in poor employee morale, poor quality, low productivity, and unnecessary employee-employer conflicts, all of which produce economic decline, which makes social progress and personal development difficult, if not impossible. Good management can create high morale, high quality, high productivity, a sense of purpose and meaning, minimize conflicts and maximize cooperation, create a sense of community, and foster self-respect, all of which lead to an improving economy which lays an excellent foundation for personal development and social progress.