Different organizations embrace different dimensions of management. We have those that are team based and thus encourage the participation and empowerment of employees. On the other hand, there’re those that empower the managers to be in control of both the individual and organizational performance. The former is evidenced in the leadership of team based organizations while the latter is based on the Quinn’s Monitor and Control roles. This reaction essay vividly elucidates these two sets of management philosophies and clearly shows how they conflict.
The Leadership Structure and Process in Team Based Organizations
In team based organizations, horizontal management is imperative. This does not only involve changes in attitudes and orientations of management but also styles of leadership and communication patterns. It is about using relational management to create a high performance culture. Gore and associates is an example of such a horizontal organization. The company deals with the production of electrical, camping, medical and textile products. The company is guided by four main principles of operation.
First, there is fairness. Its staff members are expected to be fair not only to each other but also to both suppliers and clients. Secondly, there is freedom where employees are expected to facilitate the growth of one another in skills, knowledge and abilities. They are not only free to attempt new projects but also to embrace new patterns of working and thinking. Third, there is commitment where all employees are expected to honor commitments made both to each other and to outsiders. Fourthly, there is waterline. This means that the members of staff ought to consult one another prior to making a decision that has the potential of affecting the reputation, health and survival of the organization (Belasen, 2000, p. 126).
In horizontal management, the value chain of the organization and the supplier| customer perspectives form a very critical aspect of both transactions and relationships. Since the lines of communication are simpler, more direct and shorter, operators in these organizations are less likely to experience reception and transmission problems.
As far as organizational leadership is concerned, the management focuses more on the needs of customers instead of the hierarchical interests. Functions and jurisdiction areas are replaced by processes and interfaces. Adaptive managers adjust their roles from being evaluators and auditors to being coaches and facilitators. They accomplish this by concentrating more on the management and improvement process. Since the managers handle a lot of responsibilities, cross training them is important. Such training will not only make them effective but will also make them to have both the breath and depth for the tasks (Belasen, 2000, p. 126).
Participation and Empowerment of Employees
Team based organizations that encourage the use of teams that are cross-functional and let members of staff to access a lot of information also encourage the fact that managers ought to not only empower their employees but to also allow them to have greater participation. By being empowered, employees are given the chance to take initiative in determining the course of their destiny. At the same time, members of staff are expected to be accountable for their actions, decisions and results.
If employees are to be involved and participate meaningfully, training is required. They need to know the contributions that they are supposed to make. What managers need to do is identify vital areas of job performance and leadership responsibilities that concern members of the team. The transfer of leadership responsibilities to teams and individuals is eased by both the empowerment and involvement of employees (Belasen, 2000, p. 127).
Decentralization allows for quick response to changes in market, facilitates reconfiguration of the organization structure and could enhance better processes of adaptation. Besides, decentralization encourages flexibility and this in turn results to versatility which is important in the utilization of advanced technologies and in the management of shorter production (Belasen, 2000, p. 142).
In organizations that are both decentralized and team based, customers are the main focus of the organization’s resources and functional units are done away with. Work is performed by teams that are multidisciplinary based and yet connected in a network to external customers and suppliers. The training capacity that the teams have is adequate enough to make them handle the work. The team is accountable for goals of measurable performance and their reward and evaluation is via a compensation system that is centered on customer feedback (Belasen, 2000, p. 142-143).
Quinn’s Monitor and Control Roles
Robert Quinn and his colleagues carried out research to establish the skills that managers require in order to be maximally effective. Their research birthed two dimensions that could be applied in the synthesis of four schools of management. The first dimension had to do with the level of flexibility versus that of control as supported and allowed by the leader. The second dimension was about whether the leader’s focus was internal or external. Thus, the two dimensions were about focus and flexibility (Wangler, 2009, p. 26).
These dimensions were used to design eight roles required by the manager or leader to deal with a single framework. The eight identified roles were: facilitator, mentor, director, monitor, producer, coordinator, broker and innovator. An internal focus and the underlying values of control were the ones on which monitor and control roles were based (Sanchez and Heen, 2005, p. 84; Winter, 2010, p. 560).
Because of competing underlying values, managers could not simply acquire skills due to their day-to-day engagements. As one became a specialist in one set of skills, acquiring the other skill became difficult. Beyond the acquisition of skills, the manager was supposed to be knowledgeable on when the application of one role or competence over the other was necessary.
The monitor and coordinator roles are complementary in the Internal – Control quadrant. “The monitor role’s set of behaviors includes managing collective and organizational performance as well as monitoring individual performance. The coordinator role behaviors mean being able to manage projects and design work process including managing across functional areas” (Martens et al, 2008, p. 171).
Projects are supposed to be done in different ways due to upcoming changes. Thus, organizations of world class ranking should be both flexible and adaptable to succeed. Most people tend to skip the planning and coordination of projects. This ought not to be the case. Effective coordination of projects requires communication and two other pieces of information: the name of the person responsible for completion of the activity and the time required to complete it. This allows for proper integration of cost and schedule details needed in project monitoring. Thus if team members of a project come from diverse functional areas, the managers of these functional areas should be consulted by the project manager prior to making cost and time estimates (Quinn et al, 2011, p. 125-140).
Differences between Leadership Roles in Team Based Organizations and those in Quinn’s Monitor and Coordinator Roles
In monitor and control roles, managers are conversant with one area of specialty and it’s hard for them to learn new roles whereas in the team based leadership managers handle several multidisciplinary roles and as such, they undergo cross training to become effective in their roles.
Secondly, in team based leadership, instead of being in control, managers become facilitators and coaches. On the other hand, Quinn’s monitoring role requires managers to directly monitor the performance of individuals.
Thirdly, whereas Quinn’s monitor role includes the manager’s ability to design the work process and be able to manage projects, team based leadership allows the empowerment and involvement of employees who should be able to manage the work. Employees are able to chart the course of their destiny and are also accountable for their actions, outcomes and results. Moreover, team based leadership is customer focused but the monitor and control role is not.
Example of the Conflicting Roles
This conflicting role between the Quinn’s model and that of team based organizations can best be illustrated by what has been happening in the automobile industry. After having worked with Ford Motors, I realized that the reason why the Taurus car had replaced the Honda Accord as the best car is because Ford had decided to embrace the team based leadership philosophy. The company launched an employee involvement program in its operations and was customer based. This made it to be ahead of its competitors, most of who were operating using the monitor and control roles of management.
Team based organizations are centered on empowering and involving employees in the management of the organization. Employees are trained to be able to make decisions and determine the outcome of their work. The role of managers is to facilitate and coach performance rather than control it. They are continually trained to carry out these roles. The organizations are also customer focused.
On the other hand, Quinn’s monitor role is based on two dimensions: flexibility and focus. It entails managing of both individual and collective organizational performance. The Quinn’s coordinator role is about managing and designing work process across functional areas. It is difficult for managers to acquire new skills. Hence the two leadership perspectives are conflicting.
Belasen, T. (2000). Leading the learning organization: communication and competencies for managing change. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Martens et al (2008). Competence building and leveraging in interorganizational relations. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
Quinn, et al. (2011). Becoming a Master Manager: A competing values approach. 5th edition. Edison, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. Web.
Sanchez, R. and Heen, A. (2005). Competence perspectives on resources, stakeholders, and renewal. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
Wangler, V. (2009). Connective leadership, behavioral complexity, and managerial effectiveness. Ann Arbor, US: ProQuest LLC. Web.
Winter, R. (2010). Global Perspectives on Design Science Research: 5th International Conference, DESRIST 2010, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2010. Proceedings. NY: Springer.