Management Skills: Scholar vs Practical Approaches

Scholars have identified changes in the management method where new and easy management approaches have been adopted. From a practitioner’s point of view, management is a profession like any other that only demands specific skills, but scholars have a different view of the subject, whereby they view it as an art, which demands both skills and organized human character.

From a scholarly approach, management is a key tool for the development and success of an organization. Therefore, a manager should in a position to drive forward an organization towards its objectives (Anderson, Heriot & Hodgkinson 2001). Traditionally, managers were respectable persons as they had more powers than they have today, which they often abused by applying great personal interests. However, contemporarily, the case is a little different, as some of managerial powers have been distributed to other organs both within and outside the business environments. However, scholars do not have problem with managerial powers and ethicality of a manager, but rather the ability of a manager to apply creative approach methods that solve organizational problems.

According to Rousseau (2006), managers should be in a position to solve problems at the quickest time possible and identify the most efficient approach to solve the issue in question. In addition, a manager should be an active player in the development of the solution. Hence, modern managers should apply technical approaches such as research and scientifically rigorous approaches. In comparing the contemporary methods of doing business with traditional ones, one easily notices various developments that demand drastic change in the management style and approaches to organizational problems. For instance, the technological advancement required managers to understand technology as it is the key driver of the modern world economies. Secondly, change in human behavioral advancements is also noticeable, which then needs managers who can understand the human needs and wants in a business environment (Bennis & Toole, 2005).

Traditionally, well-established organizations hired managers who were skilled and creative. They were given powers over nearly every other organ in the organizational environment, and thus they were held responsible for an organization’s success and failure. Today, managers are viewed as ordinary people who do not necessarily have special skills and human characters, which enable them to assume those positions (Morrell, 2008). Scholars argue that this aspect is attributed to the advanced human development and the easily learned management skills from colleges and universities. Hence, the failure of today’s managers to apply effective problem solving approaches is taken as a failure of tertiary institutions of learning to instill students with knowledge and proper management skills. A well-trained manager should be creative and well skilled to enabling him/her to identify effective problem-solving approaches coupled with having the courage to apply them despite their technicality (Rousseau, 2006).

In addition, management is a serious area of knowledge that demands the right professional skills and personal character. It is necessary for a manager to be confident with every decision made that bears an effect in the organization’s operations. Hence, decisions ought to be based on thorough knowledge, which is relevant to the matter in question. In other words, a manager an open-minded person who is ready to learn new knowledge, which equips him/her with the ability to tackle problems effectively.

Various approaches are used to solve organizational problems and scholars argue that good managers need to be well equipped with skills that are requisite for solving the available and emerging problems. However, the most effective are the most technical, and hence the hardest to acquire for many managers. Hence, it is evident that tertiary institutions of learning have, in some way, failed to produce efficient managers. Surprisingly, many people in senior management positions in businesses cannot apply research-based methods for solving organizational problems (Shrivastava, 1987).

Moving away from the scholars’ viewpoint, management has truly changed to become a technical exercise, which the majority of people can hardly notice or even realize in the appropriate time (Starkey, Hatchuel & Tempest, 2009). All businesses are interconnected through technological advancements, and this assertion implies that competition has moved to a technical level. Hence, to be well positioned, an organization’s management team must comprise of persons who really understand technology and have skills, which are relevant to the business technological advancement. Management entails solving problems or mitigating issues that would lead to a problem. Therefore, management should have integrity in addressing organizational problems and in especially those that are workplace-based.

Workplace-based problems are very critical as they revolve around human capital and their environment. Therefore, it is essential for the management to understand the advancement in human behaviors when tackling those problems, and thus ensure that the methods can tackle human- related issues with respect. Human capital is the most reliable for an organization’s success, and thus they ought to be protected for employees together with the managers form an organization.

In conclusion, management is both an art and a profession. It is an art as it can be acquired through learning and applying necessary skills and a profession because not everybody can become a good manager. Management has progressed over the years with the advancement in technology and human behaviors. However, it is necessary to appreciate tertiary institutions are restricted in the ultimate production of efficient managers because the best that can be done in making a manager is to give knowledge. However, the work of applying that knowledge in real issues is an individual responsibility.

The Addendum

The strengths and weaknesses associated with addressing a workplace-based problem using i) a scientifically rigorous or ii) a practically useful approach.

Scientifically Rigorous Approach

  • Strengths: – it is based on methods that have proved effective, and thus managers have confidence in them.
  • Weaknesses: – it requires expertise when applied in management issues, which implies that not everyone can apply them for solving some problems. Secondly, scientific rigorous approach is very specific unlike other forms of approaches.

Practically Useful Approach

  • Strengths: – it is easy to apply, hence it does not demand any form of specialized skills as opposed to the scientific approach.
  • Weakness: – it allows managers to apply their personal interests in the decision makes exercise, which at times oppresses some parties. Moreover, the method has no proof of its effectiveness as opposed to the scientific approach for it solely relies on personal experience and knowledge.

How could evidence-based management enable you to address a workplace-based problem?

First, it is generally acceptable, which makes it easy for managers to make decisions. Secondly, the method has proved its efficiency in many areas for its quality of being evidence-based. Evidence is very specific, and thus gives assurance of the method’s efficiency in solving a specific problem. In management, the evidence-based approach instils confidence in managers that the problem will be over after the application of the approach, unlike in the practically useful approach scenario.

Why be concerned about issues of rigor and relevance in relation to the creation of management knowledge?

Failure to consider the rigor and relevance of management knowledge could easily lead to the development of detrimental management decisions. A manager should a thorough person who takes time to seek knowledge on anything relevant in the management practice.

What are the pitfalls and problems associated with systematic review as a method of evidence-based management, and what are the alternatives to this approach?

Management approaches are very dynamic, which renders some approaches irrelevant after sometime, while others are considered effective, and hence systematic review cannot work well with dynamic elements. The alternative to the systematic review can be the search of new effective and up-to-date evidence-based approaches, which can be used as new management approaches.


Anderson, N., Heriot, P., & Hodgkinson, P. (2001). The practitioner-researcher divide in industrial, work, and organizational (IWO) psychology: where are we now and where do we go from here? Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74(4), 391-411.

Bennis, W., & O’Toole, J. (2005). How business schools lost their management? Academy of Management Review, 31(2), 256-269.

Morrell, K. (2008). The narrative of “evidence based” management: a Polemic. Journal of Management Studies, 45(3), 613-635.

Rousseau, M. (2006). Is there such a thing as evidence-based and the new logics of discovery and engagement. Journal of Management Studies, 46(3), 547-558.

Shrivastava, P. (1987). Rigor and practical usefulness of research in strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 8(1), 77-92.

Starkey, K., Hatchuel, A., & Tempest, S. (2009). Management research Way. Harvard Business Review, 83(5), 96-104.

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