Relationship between management theory and practice

relationship between management theory and practice

relationship between management theory and practice. This article will attempt to expand some of the propositions posed by Hilgert and examine in greater. The overlap between management theory and disasters may be seen in concepts . Management is placed in a network of mutually dependent relationships. Contributions explore the character of the imputed relationship between theory and practice. Design/methodology/approach – The editorial introduction sets the .

Thus an application of a management theory to a problem in organization in the U. In other words, management theories are equally effective across countries and industries. But the contingency perspective argues against this approach and states that the suitability of a theory and its effectiveness is determined by the prevailing circumstance to which it is applied. In other words the use of a theory depends on the existing conditions and the environment under which the condition exists.

Why do Management Theories Fail? Reasons and Solutions: A Perspective of African Context

Given the universality perspective, it is expected that success of theories is guaranteed across organizations and societies but as we have observed in many organizations application of given theories do not yield expected result [ 34 ].

Indeed in many cases the theories are quite unsuccessful, thus nullifying the universality proposition. Evidently a number of theories have been disregarded or des-reputed and disused because they have failed in many instances. In the circumstance, the contingency proposition has become an attractive argument as an attempt to reduce the rate of failure in the use of theories in management practice.

Apparently, the contingency argument in the application of theories to organizational problem presents a more sustainable approach than the universality perspective. The perspective of the contingency approach presents the theoretical framework for this paper. The paper rides on the contingency thought to give an understanding of why management theories fail.

The critical question for exploration in general is why does management theory fail? The concept of failure of management theory Theories are applied to problem situations in management to solve them, thus, when upon application of the supposed required theory, the problem remains unsolved, then the theory is said to have failed.

It is unable to address the problem to which it is applied. In other words, a management theory is said to have failed if upon application of its prescriptions the expected result s is not achieved. A theory is ineffective when predictions made about future occurrences and events, based on its prescriptions, are incorrect [ 7 ].

A theory is unsuccessful if its application does not help the user-manager to achieve set organizational goals.

relationship between management theory and practice

Therefore, the concept of failure of management theory is used to mean the inability of a given theory to help the user to achieve the purpose for its development and application under the given situation and circumstance. Why do management theories fail? Essentially, theories are built under assumptions that certain conditions exist and the application of a given theory is subject to the fulfillment of the assumptions underlying it, if it must fulfill its purpose. In other words the application of a theory is contingent upon certain circumstances resulting from the interactional relationship between some factors.

The nature of the relationship and the result may change from time to time and place to place as the factors change structure or form and volume complexity and even assume greater fluidity, leading to the violation of the essential assumption that the specified conditions remain stable over time.

Events and situations are affected and determined by the realities of the environment in which they occur [ 89 ]. Thus situations vary according to environment and even according to time in a given environment. Impliedly, solutions to problem situations vary according to situations on hand, and the environmental influence on them, as well as the binding conditions under which they exist.

Evidently, in many occasions, managers encounter circumstances in which the recommended actions application of the supposed relevant theory do not yield the predicted results.

In other words it does not fit the circumstance to which it is being applied. Consequently managers ignorantly apply such theories indiscriminately to related similar circumstances without observing the conditions for yielding the expected results.

The critical point to note is that many theories have failed because they have been misapplied. The preceding analysis answers this question as simply that the western based theories are inconsistent with African environment.

African management situations defy Western theories. In other words, western theories are not suited to African conditions and circumstances. But this simple answer can be nullified if the theory of management universality is held valid. However, this theory has been challenged greatly in contemporary management.

The new field of comparative management is also an appreciation of the variations in the environment of management and the weakness of the theory of management universality. The Western and African environment and circumstances are greatly different in many ways. Unfortunately, many of the theories which managers in Africa apply in their organizations have been built in the west under western environmental circumstances, without sensitivity analysis of their suitability to other environmental circumstances.

But theories work and effectively too, if only they are built and used in circumstance contingent ways. Impliedly, western theories fail in Africa organizations and in many developing countries because mangers in these societies import and rely on theories from the management advanced western societies and abuse them by applying them indiscriminately without being circumstance-contingent.

Apparently this is the case with management practice in Africa. Making theories work in the African context The quest for workable theories for Africa organizations have resulted in a great deal of arguments, theorizing, suggestions and propositions. In broad terms two major approaches have been more popular among the various participants, viz.

relationship between management theory and practice

Unfortunately, these approaches are also bedeviled by number of factors. None of these approaches have been able to see the light of day.

They still run short of the basic requirement for success - circumstance-contingency - both in development and application. To make theories work is not only the task of the builder who must build the theory to conform to the requirement of circumstancecontingency, but also that of the user manager who must apply it in a circumstance contingent way.

The manager must probe to understand the circumstances which the theory does and does not work. Evidently many scholars have the view that problem of management practice in Africa is the lack of indigenous theories, and that effective management practice will be largely achieved if indigenous theories are developed to capture the local circumstance as basis for management decision making and practice in other aspects and functions of management.

While this may be a valid argument or suggestion, but this will only serve limitedly if such indigenous theories are not circumstance contingent even within the indigenous environment. An indigenous theory that is not circumstance contingent will suffer the same fate as an imported theory, since even within the same environment, circumstances vary. Apparently, most indigenous theories have also failed greatly in many cases because of this reason.

Those who know how to capitalize on change for their own self interests take a bigger piece of the pie in comparison to those who find change a threat and freeze in their tracks. The shrinking of the middle class and increased polarization between the rich and the poor manifest it.

This gives birth to increased confrontations, management against workers and even management against management. The result is that the management of conflict is emerging as a dominant facet of managerial practice. It calls for a major educational training effort on how to avoid destructive conflict to be a cultural trait of the company. Due to the complexity of change and the accelerated rate of change, people are getting older younger.

What I mean by that is that in certain industries, IT industry for instance, by the age of forty a person is considered too old to be hired.

Companies look for people in early twenties soon to be early teens. The technology is changing so fast that it takes young people to master it. This development poses its own challenges for management: The above changes are not an exhaustive list of changes that impact management. It is a list to manifest that change is intense and accelerating and management has to deal with it.

Those changes will give birth to new needs that will call for new theories and practices of management. How can a company be managed under such an increase in uncertainty and risk which are the by product of change? What new management theories and practices are going to emerge or are already emerging to respond to the changes we are experiencing?

I see several developments.

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The rate of change and the complexity that is born by the changes makes it impossible for any single individuals to dominate the decision making process. No one alone can evaluate risks in an environment of chronic accelerated change. The need for a complementary team that works in unison is becoming indispensable for the success of the modern corporation.

That has repercussions for how the organization should be structured. To provide channels for information and know how for information and knowledge to flow from the bottom up and across the organization.

There are many attempts already to break the mold of hierarchy. We are witnessing theories and practices that negate hierarchy totally. For example Holocracy, network organization, flat organizations and even the Agile system of management has anti hierarchy characteristics.

Moving from total hierarchy to no hierarchy is not the solution to the problem hierarchy creates. Both systems, absolute hierarchy and no hierarchy whatsoever, in their extreme, have side effects that hamper the effectiveness of organizations.

It makes the company effective and efficient in the short run but the organization has problems in adapting the organization to changes in the long run. No hierarchy on the other hand enables flexibility of the system and thus enables it to deal with change more effectively then a hierarchy would, but implementation of decisions taken to deal with change is not as effective nor efficient.

What is needed is a double system, democracy for decision-making and dictatorship in implementation. Double organizational structures with the same people in the organization. Not an easy feat. The Adizes methodology has addressed this problem successfully. Team work across organizational silos is indispensable in solving complex problems. Following the hierarchical lines of authority does not work well because problems in the modern world are multi dimensional and call for a multi disciplinary interventions.

The emphasis on team work started already but, in my judgment, in light of the needs, it is still in its infancy. In the future it will be the corner stone of management. Team work calls for collaborative leadership, complementary teamwork composed of people with a global vision of the world. Our capability to predict the future is getting increasingly weaker.

It is because of the complexity of the changes occurring. Because of their multi faceted nature. No one predicted the oil crisis of the last century. No, one including the central banks, predicted the financial crisis of this century. As our capability to predict and thus plan declines, the need to have a flexible organization that can change direction fast increases. Thus having a flexible organization where people do not hold to their chairs till they retire becomes an indispensable managerial practice to follow.

Just monetary compensation is not good enough any more. The millennia labor force wants to feel their work has a meaning, has a spiritual purpose of making a better world, not just more money. Companies will have to emphasize the values that govern their behavior and develop control systems to monitor that those values are not being violated.

Systems like the Open Book approach 2the Balanced Score Card system 3 and the Adizes Executive Dashboard 4 are only the beginning of what will be needed to introduce transparency of information. That means that new theories of management on how to handle stress will be needed.

The training and consulting industries will grow but the technology of consulting profession will change as well from just giving reports to the leading of change and implementation. That will give birth to the field of organizational therapy, making dysfunctional companies to function well.

In my judgment consulting profession will experience a major traumatic change. It will move away from the medical analogy where by the consultant gives a prescription to the client to a methodology which is more akin to therapy. Client decides what to do. The new age consultant only help the client to make the decision and implement it. The Coaching profession is the beginning of such transformation. So far the holly grail has been profits. In the short and in the long run.

I believe profit is the holly grail because business schools were and still are in some universities an offshoot of the school of economics. It also fits the capitalist model where companies exist for their investors, owners. Profits as a goal will need to be removed from being an exclusive or dominant goal and become part and parcel of a basket of goals.

And I believe we will go beyond that too. I believe we will slide away even from addressing goals of stake holders as the basket of goals to follow. I believe we will come to identify that the primary goal of any organization is to be healthy. First and above all. In the pursuit of profits many companies become dysfunctional, sick with internal conflicts, with loss of direction, and furthermore make the environment in which they operate, the community they belong tosick as well, polluting air, water and the society at large.

That is done by firing people and causing unemployment which frequently can become chronic; The unemployed people can not be easily retrained. Healthy means integrated within the company and outside the company boundaries. Integratedhealthy organizations can have sustainable profits.

Not true for companies that are falling apart. How to maintain organizational health, how to define what it is, how to identify early signs of " sickness" and what to do about it is a new field I have personally devoted my professional life to and I hope it will be one of the main developments of the future of management and leadership, theory and practice. We have discussed that already above. This has repercussion on how companies will be managed. I believe values will be a dominant factor in decision making.

We can see that already in the United States where companies devote part of the their revenues to philanthropic purposes and advertise it on their product. We can see this development in how many executives retire or leave their business leadership position to dedicate their time to a social purpose that makes sense to them. Companies that just pursue profits as a goal, that focus only on stockholders interests, I believe, will find themselves not attracting talent which in modern society is critical for success.