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Managers and Knowledge

Student-Led Seminar

Bobby Aspinall

on 28 January 2013

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Transcript of Managers and Knowledge

Managers and Knowledge
Introduction Main Issues Covered Some commentators have argued that ICT will see the demise of the middle manager

Others have suggested that the content of their role may change, but the positions themselves will remain important.

This seminar reviews this debate with a view to shedding light on the complex nature of contemporary management. Overview “Managerial control over social production will become highly centralized as almost all intermediary supervisory layers will be removed, their functions to a very large extent incorporated into technological systems”
Romtin (1991)

“Middle managers play a key role in the knowledge creation process. They synthesise tacit knowledge of both front line employees and senior executives , make it explicit and incorporate it into new products and technologies”
Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) Are middle managers roles likely to disappear or change given the power of ICT to bypass traditional communication channels?

How might ICT affect managers use of information?

Do the impacts of change differ for different levels of management? Rounding Out The Manager's Job -
Henry Mintzberg Mintzberg’s view of the manager’s role in the company:

Manager’s role involved monitoring their own units
Formal information does not play a dominant role in managerial work

Informal information is much more dominant in managerial work

Describes middle managers as “nerve centre” of information

Middle manager is the connection between low level specialists and executive managers.

Middle Managers become spokesperson of the team or department
  Hales highlighted the potential elimination or marginalisation of middle managers due to organisational change.
He identified the shift from hierarchical and rule bound organisations to decentralised and post-bureaucratic organisations.
Hales predicted the role of managers changing into one of two potential routes.

1) Middle managers role will change
2) Middle managers jobs will be replaced entirely Does it Matter What Managers Do?
Colin Hales Management Structure within a
Manufacturing Company Management Structure within an
Agency Manufacturing Advertising Agency Formal
Pyramid Hierarchy
Tacit Knowledge held by workers
Reluctant to share knowledge
Their positions are reliant upon tacit knowledge
More structure and levels of management Informal
Flat hierarchy
Implicit/open and shared knowledge
Encouraged to share knowledge on group projects
Less structure and levels of management Managing Without Managers - Ricardo Semler CEO of Brazilian company Semco SA
Failing company, implemented radical changes in management structure
Upon becoming CEO, reduced management by 60%
Promoted three values;
- Democracy
- Profit Sharing
- Information
Created decentralized participatory management style Tall Organisations:
Multiple Levels of Hierarchy
Long Lines of Communication
Unresponsive to Change
Potential for Promotions

Centralized Organisations:
Decisions are made by senior management
Strategy then communicated down through hierarchy Flat Organisations:
Few Levels of Hierarchy
Short Lines of Communication
Responsive to Change
Managers Overstretched

Decentralized Organisations:
Decisions made across organisation
Decrease in speed of decision Reducing
Role I.T as a substitute because the role of middle managers is informational and structured in decision making Middle Management decisions can be made with I.T/MIS as they are repetitive and require little flexibility Executive managers may use IT to take control of information away from middle managers Middle managers have to move information within organisations whereas I.T/MIS could make it more available I.T allows information to flow directly to executive management Middle managers can be seen to subtract value Welcome to our Seminar I.T increases
control on
employees I.T can cause the middle manager's role to become more visible I.T can
save time
for more important
roles; creating freedom and
responsibilities I.T can overwhelm organisations -
Middle managers are needed to add relevance and purpose to information I.T lacks
interpersonal relationships
that managers
create Middle managers are needed to process
information for executive I.T provides more authority as it removes uncertainty in decision making Partners:
Are the “seven to ten leaders of Semco’s business units.” Every other employee is in the outermost circle and is known as an “associate”. (Semler, 1993) Counsellors:
A team of about six people who are the equivalent of Vice Presidents or higher. They coordinate policy and strategy. Coordinators:
Shown in the triangles, are those in “basic leadership” roles. They “guide” teams of five to twenty associates. Closing Discussion Middle Managers are Still Needed in Contemporary Organisations Middle Managers Are No Longer Needed in Contemporary Organisations Text-In Poll
http://www.polleverywhere.com/multiple_choice_polls/MTY3NjM4MTk2OA Reshaping
Role Freya Ranyard N0217099
Robert Aspinall N0269244 Middle Managers have to move information up and down the organisation which can be done through I.T
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