Having devised a clear and communicated policy for management development, those responsible for implementing development need to think through and be able to justify why they are developing an individual manager (or a group of managers). The reasons for developing managers are varied. For example:
You will have noted that in addition to developing new knowledge and skills, management development is a way of shaping individual and collective attitudes and behaviours – an important consideration when implementing organisational change. As well as organisations ensuring that development is linked to the philosophies and strategic objectives of the organisation, they must also take account of individual needs, expectations and aspirations.
This can often be a difficult balance to achieve, and frequently becomes a source of tension (Hopfl and Dawes, 1995; Currie, 1999). For instance, senior managers who are seeking a quick-fix solution to a deep-rooted managerial or organisational problem will often consult with development ‘experts’, who are only too pleased to solve the problem by introducing them to the latest development fad. When the ‘quick-fix’ solution fails to produce the anticipated results or (worse) exacerbates an existing problem, management development is at risk of being undermined and discredited (Roberts and McDonald, 1995; Currie, 1999).
It is therefore vital that organisations view management development as a long-term investment and select an approach that is suited to their specific needs and requirements.
Management development can be approached in a number of different ways. Mumford (1997) describes three different types of approach that are broadly representative of current UK management development (see the box on the next page). Burgoyne (1988) argues that management development may be considered as progressing through different levels of maturity. At Level 1 there is no systematic approach to management development, and at Level 6 management development not only shapes and informs corporate strategy, it actually enhances the process of strategy formation. In practice, management development approaches for most organizations rarely extend beyond Levels 1 and 2.
Levels of maturity or organisational management development
Those who reach Levels 5 and 6 find it is ‘often precariously achieved and lost’. Burgoyne argues that to progress through the levels of maturity to the point where management development is making the fullest contribution to organisation development demands a much more holistic approach to development. In this approach, both ‘hard’ (roles, duties, technical competence, etc.) and ‘soft’ (career, quality of life, ethos, values, etc.) managerial issues are considered when framing approaches to development.
Many approaches to development have characteristics similar to Mumford’s Type 1 and Type 3 development and Burgoyne’s Levels 1 and 2 and accordingly may be labelled as piecemeal. Implementing piecemeal approaches will almost certainly lead to inefficient and ineffective development. Piecemeal approaches to development are characterised by the following:
For instance, some managers see development as a central part of their job, others see it as peripheral and a nuisance.
Sadly, piecemeal and fragmented approaches to management development are all too commonplace (Roberts and McDonald, 1995; Mole, 2000). Such approaches are a significant contributor to the failure of management development to fulfil personal and organisational expectations (Temporal, 1990; Mumford, 1997; Mole, 2000). Not only do they waste investment, time and effort, there is also a risk of damage to existing levels of morale and commitment among managers as efforts to develop them founder on organisational barriers to change (Doyle, 1995, 2000a). As Molander and Winterton (1994) contend:
In Chapter, the open systems model was introduced as a way of conceptualising and making sense of the complexity of organisational life (Kast and Rosenweig, 1985; Morgan, 1997). In this section, it will be argued that if organisations can be persuaded to adopt an open systems perspective in relation to management development, then they are likely to overcome many of the problems created by a piecemeal approach to development.
Instead of looking at management development in isolation (as a closed system) it is now being considered as an integral part of a wider organisational system, and, more importantly, is linked to the context and ‘reality’ of managerial work (see, for example, Mumford’s Type 2 development).Viewing management development from an open systems perspective recognises and focuses attention on the following factors:
In the subsequent sections of this chapter, an open systems perspective of management development will become the basis for both theoretical and practical analysis and discussion.
Management development as an open system
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