Exploration in management Part Six: Summation

- So we get out of the old Glasgow office and sub it. The only question left is the timing. Put it up at the next board meeting. Perhaps you're right. You're tired. Then stop overdoing it and start by having an early night.
- Model procedure. Peels procedure council. Tend to grow larger and larger. One of the results of this growth is a rapid increase in the amount of confusion, anxiety and hostile behavior. The thought of major organizational change is worrying him. It's not change I'm suggesting, it's awareness.
- If organizations so formal, human relationships will suffer. Random confusion in organization produces anxiety, hostility and antisocial behavior. If we want to avoid such behavior, we must be able to organize better.
- Three ranks of management. Each manager has a staff officer attached. BS, CS and DS responsible for giving CS task instructions. B and BS are therefore co managers of CS. The worry now is the point of resistance. The plant managers are your problem, aren't they?
- Wherever an employment hierarchy exists, three other systems of roles interact with it. To get real managerial authority, I've got to have an appeal system. To make it work, I must have policies. How are you going to get all this agreement? With works councils.
- Work councils are company institutions. They can't deal with national problems. Set up a series of conferences in which you adapt this procedure agreement to the needs of Dunsyth with reps from all grades. These ideas aren't Panacea's for all problems but at least they get them into focus.

Speaker A So we get out of the old Glasgow office and sub it. Speaker B Have I? Speaker A Didn't I think of that? Speaker B I'm glad you approve. The only question left is the timing. Speaker A Ti...

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Speaker A So we get out of the old Glasgow office and sub it.

Speaker B Have I?

Speaker A Didn't I think of that?

Speaker B I'm glad you approve. The only question left is the timing.

Speaker A Timing as quick as possible. Put it up at the next board meeting.

Speaker B Oh, I thought it might wait until old Hepburn retires.

Speaker A Why?

Speaker B Well, he and one or two of the others aren't going to like it. They love dropping in at that old office.

Speaker A It's not right you to be afraid of opposition, James. It's your decision, of course, but we need the cash. And as chairman, I'll back you.

Speaker B Perhaps you're right.

Speaker A You're tired.

Speaker B I am, rather.

Speaker A Then stop overdoing it and start by having an early night. Or are you committed to another of your viewing sessions?

Speaker B Well, I haven't tended to see the last of the series, but Hemis tells me that this is all that's turned up. I haven't had a chance to look at it.

Speaker A Oh, if I were you, I'd go straight home, have a couple of drinks and a decent meal, and then watch some tilly. That'll put you in the mood for a good night's sleep.

Speaker B Perhaps I will.

Speaker A Do you'll be able to face the thought of old HEPA now for a good night's rest. Good night, James.

Speaker B Good night. Model procedure. Agreement. Peels procedure council. Constitutional, it.

Speaker C Tend to grow larger and larger. One of the results of this growth in size is a rapid increase in the amount of confusion, anxiety and hostile behavior. Few of us, whatever our position, are satisfied with the current state of affairs. We tend to criticize others. Somebody else is always the villain. Most people seem to be pessimists about the future. I'm an optimist because I have a firm belief in two important ideas. Here is the first of them.

Speaker B All.

Speaker D Human work includes the use of discretion in the pursuit of objectives and the carrying out of tasks. The area over which the individual is authorized to use judgment is bounded by the policies, regulations and routines established by the organization as a whole and by an individual's manager.

Speaker B It's logical. It's convincing.

Speaker C We need no longer look on a rat. It isn't about people social behavior as an inevitable result.

Speaker B I work with people.

Speaker C We can stimulate more rapid, not with theories, by creating an unambiguously, clear and acceptable structural environment. That's what organization is about. And that means that willy nilly, our behavior is affected by the structure of our employment hierarchy.

Speaker B No, Chum, it's too bloody clinical.

Speaker C Too bloody clinical? Why?

Speaker B Because it is. Why? Why? If you talked to me in standard management terms, I'd probably take it. But all this sociological stuff relationships between roles, shared concepts. How can I share concepts with my foreman, let alone the convener of shop stewards?

Speaker C Jock Murray?

Speaker B Yes, he's the convener.

Speaker C He'd understand.

Speaker B Do you know him well?

Speaker C Not personally, but I've met plenty of Jock Murrays in my time. You?

Speaker B When?

Speaker C When I worked in a factory.

Speaker B You in industry.

Speaker C Of course. How do you think I'd got all these ideas if I hadn't been?

Speaker B Well, I'd rather assume that I'd sat.

Speaker C In an office in a university or somewhere and dreamed it up.

Speaker B Well, yes, something like that.

Speaker C I was a managing director for 26 years. Oh, now what's your worry?

Speaker B I've more than one. I'm attracted by your ideas, but you're.

Speaker C Somehow afraid of them.

Speaker B I'm just not convinced. For example, your use of concepts worries me.

Speaker D It's basic words which refer to precise ideas are, in science, called concepts.

Speaker C Concepts, when rigorously defined, are the bricks we use to build in our minds the mental pictures of situations without which we cannot tackle problems. Unless we're able to share the same mental models of external situations. Then discussion leads to confusion.

Speaker B Oh, in science that's okay, in engineering.

Speaker C Okay, but not possible in human situations.

Speaker B All people are different. That's why management is an art.

Speaker C Art's an intuitive process.

Speaker B Of course, to deal with people, intuition is needed.

Speaker C But it's not a very good tool for looking at organizational problems, is it?

Speaker B Oh, no. You have to be objective.

Speaker C Aren't you aware that's what I'm talking about?

Speaker B You wouldn't be suggesting awareness, would you?

Speaker C I would be and I am. Awareness of the work you do, the work you delegate, who does what, the structure and all that. It's not change I'm suggesting, which is what I think is really alarming you. It's awareness.

Speaker B You are suggesting change.

Speaker C How?

Speaker B Because you think when I've reasoned it all out, who does what and so on, I won't like the answers.

Speaker C What's wrong with that?

Speaker B Because what I don't like, I'll have to change.

Speaker C So.

Speaker B You'Re quite right. That is what's worrying me. The thought of major organizational change.

Speaker C You're being what the psychologists call ambivalent. You know that changes are needed, but you don't want to take the necessary decisions.

Speaker B I suppose that's the guts of it. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Speaker C Why not, if you're really convinced, that all's?

Speaker B Well, you know damn well I'm not.

Speaker C In that case, shall we go back to the concepts?

Speaker B If they'll stop me being ambivalent, they might.

Speaker C We have now derived a concept or definition of a manager by selecting the unique characteristics of the idea under study a boundary defined concept. Using it, you will find it perfectly simple to define whether or not a person is in a managerial role by asking three questions.

Speaker D One can he veto appointments to immediately subordinate roles? Two is he solely accountable for making differential assessments of immediate subordinates? Three can he deselect subordinates?

Speaker C If all the answers to those questions are yes, then the role is a managerial one.

Speaker B Well, when I first heard it, I thought it was right. And then I thought, no, there's more to a manager's job than that. Daily problems to be tackled, setting tasks.

Speaker C Allocating resources, establishing policies and taking big decisions over the whole field of design, manufacturing and marketing.

Speaker B That's right. But now I realize you're talking about something different. The minimum authority to define a role.

Speaker C It's a boundary definition. And now you accept it? Yes, although it's a concept worked out by selecting the unique characteristics of the idea under study.

Speaker B Granted, but the concept isn't about a person, it's about a role.

Speaker C You don't like the idea of describing roles?

Speaker B No, it's too mechanistic.

Speaker C When an author writes a play, he creates a number of characters, doesn't he?

Speaker B Yes.

Speaker C Roles for actors to fill?

Speaker B Yes.

Speaker C If the roles were well defined, the actor would either fail or by his own abilities and personality would make it work. But it wouldn't be the author's play any longer.

Speaker B Of course not. But we're not talking about plays, but.

Speaker C We are talking about roles. The badly written play is poorly organized. The roles are ill defined and not properly related. So the actors find difficulty in making it work.

Speaker B You're not trying to relate playwriting to industrial organisation.

Speaker C Try it.

Speaker B You're saying that at Dunsyth weave a number of roles and we've got to define them before we cast the actors.

Speaker C Rather than letting the actor or manager or operative build the role himself.

Speaker B But if organizations so formal, human relationships will suffer. People will behave like automatons rather than human beings.

Speaker C Your people get on with each other on the whole.

Speaker B Yes, they do. And we make allowances for each other. We don't stand on our dignity as we might if we had all this formal stuff.

Speaker C And there's no jockeying for position.

Speaker B Of course, that goes on normal human behavior. It's only when they get arguing about who does what that I get worried. Just so I'm not arguing with your theory. I'm just afraid that the use of it will expose people. Everyone has some defects, including your own subordinates. Of course. But I can put up with the weaknesses because of the good qualities. If we get it all neatly arranged, the defects will be very noticeable.

Speaker C Are you saying that your company's problems are the result of personal defect?

Speaker B Am I?

Speaker C You seem to be. I suggest it might be organizational or a bad fit of people to jobs.

Speaker B Now you're back to roles and structures.

Speaker C Which I thought you had accepted. Dear me, you are being difficult.

Speaker B Try it this way.

Speaker C You're playing about with social mechanisms. Will it make them any more human if you're confused about how they work?

Speaker B Everybody with different perceptions? No, of course it won't help.

Speaker C Okay. Now can you honestly say that every member of your team, particularly shop floor management, is in a position where his authority and accountability is obvious to all?

Speaker B No.

Speaker C Let's go a little further.

Speaker D Those at rank one level have free access to their supervisor at rank one and a half level, but not to their manager. The manager doesn't know his immediate subordinates nor the details of their work performance.

Speaker C Random confusion in organization produces anxiety, hostility and antisocial behavior. Now if we want to avoid such behavior, we must be able to organize better.

Speaker D This is the situation which should exist. In it, all the manager's subordinates have free access to him. He must know them and their work performance.

Speaker B Well, all right. I'll agree that clear organization and role definition won't dehumanize people. I'll even go as far as admitting that relationships might improve and efficiency. I'll even concede that. But I'm bound to lose flexibility.

Speaker C Why?

Speaker B Well, for instance, I sent one of our R D men to see an important customer last week to fix a deal instead of the regional sales manager. I happened to know that the company's chief engineer was going to pile on the technical arguments.

Speaker C If you want to send a buff in, why shouldn't you?

Speaker B If we get all this formality, I won't be able to do that sort of thing.

Speaker C Of course you will. But if you define roles properly, you'll be able to make a better decision.

Speaker B How?

Speaker C Your sales manager is accountable for keeping that customer.

Speaker B Yes.

Speaker C That being so, he should have gone and controlled the meeting between your Boffin and the customer's chief engineer sent two.

Speaker B Men instead of one.

Speaker C Well worth it. They'll both function in their correct roles. And have your Boffins never said silly things to customers when they're out on their own?

Speaker A Christ, yes.

Speaker B I've lost orders that way.

Speaker C Now, what about specialists?

Speaker B Okay, except a bit about co managers.

Speaker C Before we look at that, did you find it put accountability where it belonged?

Speaker B Indeed I did. Now, what was the passage?

Speaker C BT has now become what I shall term a staff officer. And his authority to instruct B One and B Two is staff authority. It is not managerial authority. It's A, their manager, who allocates the work to B One and B Two and reviews and judges how well it's done. BT has no authority to do this. Now where does a stand? Quite clearly, the idea puts A firmly in the position of carrying the can, which is, after all, the function of his role decisions are his, however they may have been arrived at. Was that the bit?

Speaker B It was, and I accept it. I carry the can for my specialist decisions.

Speaker C Right. Now, what about staff authority?

Speaker B That lets me out of a nasty hole.

Speaker C Yes.

Speaker B I've always been inhibited from allowing my specialists to give instructions.

Speaker C Because they might look like managers.

Speaker B Exactly. Defining the role of managers, making it clear that my specialists are in no way managers of my subordinates. Solves the problem.

Speaker C Then why are you worried about co managers?

Speaker B It's a strange idea.

Speaker C Let's look at it again.

Speaker D Three ranks of management. Each manager has a staff officer attached. There is a complex of relationships between BS, CS and DS. B is responsible for giving CS task instructions. BS is responsible for the training of CS in their shared discipline and giving him technical education and instruction. B will assess CS by his daily work by the zeal and effectiveness with which he carries it out. B. S will assess him as a specialist on the extent and sophistication of his knowledge.

Speaker C Explicitly, B is CS's operational manager and BS is his specialist manager. B and BS are therefore co managers of CS. I'll bet it's really working like that in Dunsyth already.

Speaker B How do you make that out?

Speaker C Well, otherwise all your low level specialists would be at sixes and sevens preaching inconsistent technical policies.

Speaker B It certainly pleased Robertson Green.

Speaker C That's your personal man and production engineer?

Speaker B Yes. They say the idea helps them maintain technical control over specialists attached at lower levels.

Speaker C What's your worry about co managers now? You don't think it's a strange idea, or do you?

Speaker B No, it helps. The worry now is the point of resistance. The plant managers, they really are your problem, aren't they? Indeed they are.

Speaker C Let's have a look at somebody who isn't your problem. The accountants.

Speaker B I must agree that a separate accountant hierarchy makes sense. It's going to take a lot of work, a great deal of argument, and that all means time. Now, in the main hierarchy you use symbols. D is for R and D m is for manufacture and MK for marketing.

Speaker C Drop the term R D. Call it product development. That's what really meant, isn't it?

Speaker B Of course. But the Boffins will jif at it.

Speaker C I know they all think of themselves as future Einstein's. Be brutal.

Speaker B Anyhow, DM and MK are all concerned with what you call operational work. Can you think of a better no, no, it's fine.

Speaker C How do you take the further split of operational work into PT and PR.

Speaker B Personnel, technical and programming. I'll take that. It does let one talk clearly and it's much easier to see the specialist situation.

Speaker C Are you beginning to accept that this stuff is descriptive of what exists rather than being inventive?

Speaker B Yes, I think I am.

Speaker C It's what most people just refuse to grasp. Now, what's the next worry? The representative system.

Speaker B How did you guess? You're worried about formalizing it and what will follow? Working it.

Speaker C Then we'd better have a look at the basic thinking again. Wherever an employment hierarchy exists, three other systems of roles interact with it.

Speaker D First, the shareholder system, represented by the board of directors. Secondly, the customers, a nonorganized amorphous group. Thirdly, the employees through the representative system.

Speaker C These three power groups interact with each other and with the employment hierarchy. Through the chief executive.

Speaker B Through the chief executive.

Speaker C True.

Speaker B Inevitable conclusions.

Speaker C Quoting me. Quoting Francis Bacon. You're getting on. So you admit the existence of a separate representative system, formalized or not?

Speaker B Its existence, yes. But works councils? Unanimous voting to boot.

Speaker C Forget about that for the moment. Let's look at appeal systems. You know why they're needed it's obvious.

Speaker B If I use the definition of a managerial role to give real managerial authority, there will have to be an appeal system. A safety valve as you say, oh.

Speaker C Then you're thinking of giving that authority to your managers, particularly at shop floor level. That means agreement on the definition of managerial authority from the shop stewards, of course. And on the appeal system, you'll have to get the agreement from your managers.

Speaker B For that who will be bloody minded.

Speaker C And you realize that an appeal systems can't function without an agreed range of written policies.

Speaker B So to get real managerial authority, I've got to have an appeal system. And to make it work, I must have policies.

Speaker C It's a sort of slippery slope, as in science. One idea leads to another. One hypothesis breeds a series. How are you going to get all this agreement? All right.

Speaker B By the use of works councils.

Speaker C The setting up of that council with right of veto over proposed changes institutionalizes the power of representatives and thereby puts them into the same constitutional position as the other power groups. They would achieve constitutional authority to prevent change instead of having to use strike action or threat of strike action.

Speaker B That opens a few cans of beans.

Speaker C The veto, for instance.

Speaker B Indeed.

Speaker C Back to first principles, I think.

Speaker D Again, requisite negotiation arises when all parties must agree. Failure to agree damages the interests of all the associations concerned.

Speaker C When a number of associations are linked together in some common endeavor, the success of which demands agreement on changes from time to time, requisite negotiation will arise. Would you agree that requisite negotiation always arises in employment hierarchies, the associations being.

Speaker B The shareholder group, the customers and the representative group. Go on.

Speaker C And that being so, the works council, where the groups interact, mustn't be a committee with decisions made by majority voting.

Speaker B If all parties must agree, all decisions no.

Speaker C What will those decisions necessarily be about?

Speaker B Changes great and small, which, as we've.

Speaker C Agreed, must be acceptable to all parties and to achieve it?

Speaker B Not the use of power. Obviously not a majority voting. You're driving me onto unanimous voting, aren't you? The veto and compromise the result of all negotiations. It's logical. It sounds all right, but it doesn't feel right. If I went into this situation, I'd feel I'd handed over the reins. Abdication.

Speaker C Abdication of what?

Speaker B Managerial prerogative, I suppose. I can see a picture of myself at a council meeting. I put forward a plan, a good one. Everybody agrees except one bulgy eyed neurotic who's out to damage the firm and stop essential action. He uses his veto and humiliates me.

Speaker C Fantasy. Managerial prerogatives.

Speaker B What?

Speaker C As things are now, can you impose change?

Speaker B No, of course I can't.

Speaker C Then where's your managerial prerogative? Under the Constitutional works council, you would have the veto. You haven't got it now.

Speaker B Oh, I can see them vetoing my proposals, but I can't see them agreeing to my veto.

Speaker C That'll only be at first. They'll be testing you out. They'll be afraid of your veto. Remember, they've agreed to give up the use of power, the strike weapon that's.

Speaker B All very well, but people only use or threaten to use power over really.

Speaker C Emotive issues, pay redundancy and so on.

Speaker B Yes, but what about the small changes which now go into practice almost unnoticed? If they came up in council, then they couldn't be ignored and thus might be vetoed. Yes.

Speaker C Do you honestly think that people don't notice that sort of change?

Speaker B They don't seem to imagine people feeling.

Speaker C An accumulation of small changes in which obviously they've had no say if you're one of them, how would you feel?

Speaker B If you put it like that, I think I might feel I was being.

Speaker C Bossed around and treated like a number instead of a person.

Speaker B Probably.

Speaker C And you'd be in a good mood for a real fight, wouldn't you? But let's consider these small changes. You must have had the experience of putting what appear to be totally unacceptable ideas to shop stewards.

Speaker B I have.

Speaker C And then you compromise a bit here and there?

Speaker B Yes, all right, I've done all that. Gradually there's a change of attitude. The idea is accepted with one or two modifications, of course, which you could.

Speaker C Do far more easily at a council meeting.

Speaker B Take the opposite extreme the company near disaster, major change essential and the council can't agree.

Speaker C Go on.

Speaker B I must decide on the change and implement the decision.

Speaker C Impose your will. You don't really mean that, do you?

Speaker B Why not?

Speaker C Because we've just agreed that you can't impose change. Just try imminent disaster without a counsel, no communication, rumors, agitation nobody able to discuss the real situation because they won't have any facts.

Speaker B Conversely, with a council, the converse holds, obviously.

Speaker C In any case, if disaster is really imminent, you'll probably be able to convince the council.

Speaker B I still can't see my veto being accepted on big changes, say, in major wage increases.

Speaker C Well, its councils are company institutions. They can't deal with national problems. If the whole range of, say, the engineering unions is after a general increase.

Speaker B You'Ll have to accept oh, that's not what I meant. I was thinking of a section of employees having been vetoed by me taking strike action or threatening it to overcome my vote.

Speaker C That's your current situation, isn't it? And if the other representatives have agreed the increase to be justified, that the section is underpaid relative to other employees, wouldn't you be inclined to favor it yourself?

Speaker B Suppose the whole hourly rated force wanted an increase outside national agreements.

Speaker C Well, all I can say to that is which situation would you prefer? Your present situation or the works council where the issues can be discussed without too much stress? Let me remind you as long as negotiation is conducted within the constitution of the council, then the possession of the veto by each member of the council equalizes power that reduces tension and hostility. Nobody can force change on others.

Speaker B You've really found a reduction in tension?

Speaker C I have and so have others. Try it yourself. And remember another thing. If nine out of ten representatives agree, a change pressure arises from the other nine between meetings on the one who uses his veto. His own constituents, knowing what went on.

Speaker B How?

Speaker C Well, the council meets in public. There's a stranger's gallery. They can't take part, but they can and do listen. So his own constituents might want to change his vote.

Speaker B We seem to have been talking largely about hourly rated staff. What about the managers?

Speaker C Look here. These ideas aren't Panacea's for all problems, but at least they get them into focus. And there's a reasonable assurance that they'll be fully discussed if strike threats are made. That's a breach of the council constitution. My bet is that such a works council will become a highly valued institution and people will be very reluctant to wreck it.

Speaker B The managers?

Speaker C Oh, they'll sort themselves out. You'll have to work, but you'll find it's been worth the trouble.

Speaker B There's one last thing. How do we start setting it up?

Speaker C Use this. What you do is to set up a series of conferences in which you adapt this procedure agreement to the needs of Dunsyth with reps from all grades.

Speaker B Top managers andrew Black will give me a bad time. Middle managers and union officials.

Speaker C It's been done in other companies. If you think the ideas will help, well, it's your decision.

Speaker B That's my job, isn't it? Taking decisions.

Speaker D Now what the science is there's no.

Speaker A Need to tell me that, James. We both know perfectly well shall analyze.

Speaker D Experience and take it to pieces, and by a due process of exclusion and rejection, lead to an inevitable conclusion.

Speaker C With these beliefs, he and others reformed science.

Speaker A I had a feeling you weren't going.

Speaker C To take my suggestion today in studying our social.

Speaker B What suggestion? Good heavens.

Speaker A The fellow can't remember anything for even two minutes.

Speaker B Two minutes?

Speaker A Just over two minutes ago, you said you'd go home and have an early night and I come back here and find this damn machine blaring away and you apparently having a nightmare.

Speaker C I think I did drop off for.

Speaker B A moment or two.

Speaker A Babbling about decision taking. Indeed.

Speaker B Was I? Or perhaps I've made one. I think I understand what all this is about now.

Speaker A And don't tell me about it. I'll buy you a drink on the way home.

Speaker C We can stimulate more rational behavior by creating an unambiguously, clear and acceptable structural environment. That's what organization is about.

Speaker E These films are based on the results of research carried out in the Glacier Metal Company Limited, which have been in practice in the company for many years and which are described in detail in Lord Wilfred Brown's book Organization.

Glacier Institute of Management

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