Discuss about the There is only one best way to manage.
“There is only one best way to manage”, I strongly disapprove of this particular sentence or a notion, as there can be “n” number of best ways possible to do a task depending on multiple things like people, culture, shared values, beliefs, etc. The different management theories also say the same, in the light of different theories which were laid down by management gurus & experts. Every organisation has decision makers who are entirely/partially different from other firm’s people, they though might face same or different business challenges which must be tackled, everyone uses his/her own best judgement to arrive at the best possible solution which has to be the best solution, or the best way to manage the situation(Hill, Jones & Schilling, 2014). In the following essay I would be using different management theories and few examples which would support my disapproval to the sentence, “There is only one best way to manage”. I believe in an alternate theory, “There is no one best way; The contingency theory.
Management is common in day to day life, so when it comes to organisation, no matter whatever the structure may be, management becomes pivotal to the firm. Management can be understood as a process of planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling(Waring, 2016). There are various theories of management which evolves around the fact that management can be seen as a study of both science and art.
Management theories framework (Jaber, 2016)
In this case however, contingency theory would solve the purpose.
This theory is based on the idea that there is no single best way to manage. Contingency refers to the immediate contignent circumstances, successful organisation tailor their planning, managing, organising & controlling activities to their particular circumstances, in othe words leaders should definitely identify the condition of a task, people involved and requirements of management job as parts of complete management solution(Jones & George, 2016). This approach is based on a simple fact that there is no universal answer to many questions because situation, people, organisation vary and change all the time. Most often there is no one right answer when mangers ask the questions: “ what is the right thing to do? Should we have mechanistic or an organic structure? A functional or divisional structure? Wide or narrow span of management? Tall or flat? Centralized or decentralized? What motivational and incentive plan to be used? Thus , the answer clearly depends on the criticality of the situation, environment and internal contingencies(Otley, 2016). Some of the factors which supports the claim that there is no one best way to manage can be:
- Size of the organisation
- How an organisation adapts to the environment.
- Strategies deployed by the companies.
- Assumptions of managers about the employees.
- Differences among resources and operation activities.
- Experience of the employees.
- Past experience of the managers.
- Situation handling ability of the managers
Adapting to changing circumstances: No two situations are absolutely identical in any way , hence every situation after breaking down into its component requires a unique solution. For example, if one have to construct a building using some strategies, keeping in mind the purpose for which the building is built and all, the same strategy can not be applied if the same type of building has to build again for some other client. A very important aspect of this theory is that managers have to be really flexible and adaptive to any situation or contingency, because no one really likes and wants a manager who is dogmatic and inflexible, it then defies the entrie purpose of a manager. Every situation is unique and depending on the context of the situation the management must take a decision.
The leaders ability is contingent upon various external factors also, his preferred style, the capabilities and behaviour of followers and the organisations climate.In case the leaders try to apply the same solution to similar situation, there is a 100 % probability that the situation will get out of hand, putting some bullet ideas of contingency theory supporting the claim, “there is no one best way to manage”(Mikes & Kaplan, 2013)
- Companies are more like an open system, which requires the management to take care of the company’s individual needs on the idea of uniqueness(McAdam, Miller &McSorley, 2016)
- There cannot be one best and perfect way of organising , it completely depends on the organisation , task , situation , people and the kind of environment in which the situation is to be handled in and at times also the time at hand to tackle the situation.
- Management has to act on their own discretion rather than going and simply applying the previous treatment they did to a situation
- Different types or people, personality makes every entity unique to each other
Conclusion:The contingency theory simply puts away with the classical theory of management which says there is one best way to manage, which is popularly also termed as organisational fit. All the organisation differ from each other in terms of its size, number of employees, their background, past experience, size of the firm, the type of capital, line of business, tenure of the company etc., with so much diversification at hand , it’s really impossible to have one best way to manage a situation/thing/people etc(Burke, 2017) The management therefore has to keep all these things in mind before evaluation a situation at hand and only then they can come up with the best solution to manage the situation. Effective leaders over the years have adopted and practised their own styles to evaluate a situation and only then have become successful in their profession. Every person is unique and so is people involved in the situation and also the climate of organisation and the climate of organisation, hence it becomes imperative to think of unique and different ways that are deemed fit in their own mind to tackle a situation; else the organisation will fall into the pit of repeated failures. Hence it can be said clearly “There is no one best way to manage”.
Burke, W.W 2017, Organization change: Theory and practice, Sage Publications.
Hill, C.W, Jones, G.R & Schilling, M.A 2014, Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning.
Jaber, M.Y 2016, Learning curves: Theory, models, and applications, CRC Press.
Jones, G & George, J 2015, Contemporary management, McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
McAdam, R, Miller, K & McSorley, C 2016, Towards a contingency theory perspective of quality management in enabling strategic alignment. International Journal of Production Economics, 14,pp.14-24.
Mikes, A & Kaplan, R.S 2013, Towards a contingency theory of enterprise risk management, McGraw-Hill.
Otley, D 2016, The contingency theory of management accounting and control: 1980–2014, Management accounting research, 31, pp.45-62.
Waring, S.P 2016, Taylorism transformed: Scientific management theory since 1945, UNC Press Books.