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Management Theory

Management and leadership should always go hand in hand. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand that the two notions are not the same. Leadership and management are inevitably connected and compatible. Thus, any attempt to separate the leadership from management will probably provoke more issues than it can solve. In accordance with Warren Bennis, “managing people is like herding cats and cats won’t allow themselves to be herded”. Such approach to management is efficient, especially regarding the current work force, which is highly diversified. The current paper will demonstrate how various management theories support the above-mentioned Bennis’ statement.

Warren Bennis in his book Managing People is like Herding Cats demonstrated that the manager’s function is to project, arrange and conciliate. Moreover, the leader’s role includes the ability to inspire and motivate (Bennis, 1999). The author believes that currently, the major requirements for leaders are typically not mentioned; at the same time, they are ‘pathetically’ manifested in the superstition of show business stars (Bennis, 1999, p. 34). Warren Bennis (1999) states that the main characteristics of felicitous leaders are quite clear. The requirements suggest that a leader should be a person who is able to convey him/herself fully. Leader is a person that knows what he/she wants and how to communicate their vision to other people in order to obtain their understanding, collaboration and support (Bennis, 1999). The idiom of ‘herding cats’ is frequently utilized to demonstrate the entanglement of managing business change. “Herding cats” is known to be an idiomatic saying, which regards a tentative to supervise or arrange a class of entities, which are unmanageable or in chaos (Bloom, Genakos, Sadun, & Van Reenen, 2012). Warren Bennis (1999) demonstrated that the principle and approach of ‘herding cats’ concerns destination. However, the most essential point regarding ‘cats’ herding” is ignored. Thus, it is significant to understand that managing people, similar to herding cats, cannot appear in a form of a race. Management is far from being pure competition and the major prize should not concern the possibility of getting across the finish line first. Managing people like herding cats concerns achieving goals and aims (Pink, 2011). Warren Bennis (1999) in his book suggests an effective approach to managing. The current workforce is highly diversified, which means that leaders and managers require specific approach to leading people in their teams to goal achievement (Bennis 1999). The author explains that managers and leaders should be humble. It is important to stop attempting “to herd cats and start building trust and mutual respect” (Bennis, 1999, p. 8). He highlights that the cats will respond and react after building trust and respect, as it will help them “to sense the purpose, keep the business purring, and even kill hostile rats” (Bennis, 1999, p. 9).

Bennis (1999) indicates that the only solution to the current leadership crisis is to understand the fact that the only resource that really matters is the human capital. In addition, the author focuses on innovation, credence, and long-range perspectives as differential characteristics of appropriate and felicitous leadership. Herding cats typically concerns a task, which is highly arduous or unfeasible to do due to numerous chaotic agents. While utilizing the approach of “cats herding”, the author suggests leaders to control and direct their population’s cumulative attention towards the desired consequence or objective, and to infuse that consequence with meaning (Bennis, 1999). The “eye-on-the-prize” approach can help in increasing recognition of capabilities and make the consequence worth the struggle (Straw, Scullard, Kukkonen, & Davis, 2013, p. 23). According to Bennis (1999), motivation accrues from the individual meaning. When an individual finds meaning in the action, it is done, regardless of all possible challenges.

As mentioned above, there are numerous theories and approaches, which support Warren Bennis idea concerning “herding cats”. The following section will demonstrate the relevant theories providing similar or analogous ideas regarding managing people.

The first scientist, whose theories support the above-mentioned claim, is Douglas McGregor. The researcher is famous for being the father of management theory and one of the best business writers of all time. Douglas McGregor had a serious discerning influence on the field of management, especially through his Theory X and Theory Y developed in the book The Human Side of Enterprise (1960) (Lerner, 2011). McGregor evolved a philosophical opinion on the humankind and management with his Theory X and Theory Y. The work is grounded on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Thus, Douglas McGregor’s approach suggests that there are lower-order requirements (known as Theory X) and higher-order requirements (known as Theory Y) (Head, 2011). Douglas McGregor suggested that management might utilize the selection of requirements to motivate employees. Nevertheless, much higher and better outcomes would be obtained by the usage of the Theory Y, instead of the Theory X. Similar to Bennis approach, which suggests that ‘cats’ require motivation, Douglas McGregor theory also demonstrates that employees need motivation and managers can utilize the requirement to achieve corporate and individual goals (Sorensen & Minahan, 2011). The full spectrum of human motivations, personalities, cultural understanding, perspectives, and needs is present in the workplace every day (Gill, 2011). The people in the team might have vastly different experiences and levels of responsibility. However, building alignment means ensuring that every person understands his or her role in making the vision a reality. Building alignment is not the same as ‘herding cats’, as it requires establishing trust, respect and forming individual motivations. In McGregor’s Theory X, leaders assume that employees who inherently dislike work, will show little ambition without enticement, and will avoid responsibility if possible (Sorensen & Minahan, 2011). They will require a leader to formulate stimulus for them and demonstrate a final destination. On the other hand, effective leaders approach the process of building alignment via McGregor’s Theory Y, assuming instead that employees are self-motivated, can solve problems creatively, and will exercise self-direction if they are committed to objectives (Head, 2011). It becomes obvious that the two above-mentioned opposing receptions theorize how leaders and managers view human conduct at work and organizational life. In accordance with the Theory X suppositions, management’s function is to restrain and control employees, meaning actually ‘herding cats’. The example is a genuine case of managerial autocracy (Head, 2011). On the contrary, the Theory Y suppositions suggest that management’s function is to evolve the potential in employees, assist them in releasing that potential towards common goals, build trust, confidence and mutual respect. Thus, Theory Y (especially its approach to motivation), which completely supports Bennis ideas and appears to be a basis of his leadership and management approach, suggests six important concepts (Lerner, 2011). Firstly, work is believed to be as natural as resting or playing. Secondly, employees implement self-guiding if they are heading towards definite objectives. Thirdly, devotion to objective is a function of the bonuses connected with the objective achievements. Fourthly, employees have a tendency to assume and look for responsibility. Fifthly, creativity, resourcefulness, and imagination are crucial skills and employees can utilize them to solve organizational issues. Finally, all employees have potential (Lerner, 2011).

Another theory, which supports the ideas presented by Warren Bennis, is a hierarchy of needs. A genuine leader requires knowing how to stimulate the employees. Motivation is the method, which makes employees act in a particular manner, allowing achieving specific objectives (Woiceshyn, 2011). All people have needs, and Maslow presented them in the form of hierarchy. The scientist demonstrates five levels of the needs, including physiological, security, social, esteem, and self-actualizing (Msoroka, 2013).

The highest need, which concerns self-actualization, is the most important in the management. The need appears when the person is less concerned with other’s estimate and is more concentrated on achieving the full personal potential (Dima, Man & Kot, 2010). Application of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to management brings the results to the organization. In accordance with the connections of the hierarchy, people must have their lower level needs met by secure working circumstances, appropriate payments to take care of one’s self and one’s family, and job safety. After fulfillment of the basic need, the workers may be stimulated by elevated job duties, status, and challenging job objectives (Dima et al., 2010). Bennis approach coincides with Maslow’s self-esteem requirements and self-actualization need. In fact, self-esteem aspiration appears from the desire and the need of individuals to feel recognized and have their achievement detected. Thus, mutual respect, various rewards, job titles, promotions and decision-making possibilities allow people to feel contented and support their self-confidence (Barsky, 2007). On the other hand, self-actualization requirements are connected with personal development and the possibilities to be creative in order to develop their full potential. Bennis’ (1999) approach suggests creating conditions for developing the full potential of employees without ‘herding’ them. Thus, a manager or leader shall understand that a person has to be offered interesting, challenging work, which tests capacities and talents. The motivating environment definitely assists employees in gaining a sense of achievement and helps managers to obtain respect (Gill, 2011).

Another theory, which is closely connected with Bennis approach, is equity theory of motivation in management. The theory presupposes that people get involved in social collation by contrasting their tentative; moreover, they compare remuneration with the others (Aghion, Dewatripont, Hoxby, Mas-Colell & Sapir, 2010). The reception of employees concerning the equity of their recompenses influences the level of motivation. The facts demonstrate that equity is present when individuals distinguish that the ratio of attempts to bonuses is analogous for them as it is for other employees to whom they compare themselves (Bloom et al., 2012). In fact, there are two kinds of inequity, including under-reward and over-reward. Under-reward appears when an employee feels that he/she dedicates more efforts than another employee does, yet obtains the same salary; or dedicated analogous attempts as another employee for a lesser recompense. It is obvious that recompense stimulates an employee to work harder and longer, he/she does not need to be ‘herded’ to obtain some objective, as inner motivation makes an employee work in the direction of achievement (Straw et al., 2013). Nevertheless, the presence of inequity undermines mutual trust, respect and ruins fruitful relationships. In accordance with the equity theory, employees are motivated to lower apprehended inequity. Thus, the workers might try to lower injustice in numerous methods. An employee might alter his/her level of endeavor. The statistics shows that an employee, who believes to be under-rewarded, will probably contribute less (Straw et al., 2013). An employee may also attempt to alter his or her rewards, for example, ask for a raise. A worker might change the behavior of the reference person. In fact, equity theory helps to understand the significance of a reward system, which stays one of the major motivating factors for practically all employees (Woiceshyn, 2011).

The final theory, which supports Bennis’ approach is the goal-setting theory developed by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham. The theory suggests that objectives are the most significant agents influencing the motivation and conduct of employees (Ordonez, Schweitzer, Galinsky & Bazerman, 2009, p. 9). The researchers proclaim the magnitude of the specified and challenging objectives in obtaining motivated conduct. The definitive objectives frequently incorporate quantitative goals for enhancement in a behavior of interest. In addition, the theory suggests that clear objectives are more efficient than the objectives, in which an employee is commanded to “do his/her best” (Bipp & Kleingeld, 2011). Challenging goals are complicated but motivating to accomplish. In accordance with Bennis’ approach, when an employee has a high degree of self-efficacy, he/she is likely to react more positively to challenging objectives than when this employee demonstrates a low degree of self-efficacy (Bipp & Kleingeld, 2011).

Management is becoming less appropriate in regards with the new organizational order, characterized by elevated diversity, autonomy, and cross-boundary work. The aforementioned characteristics require a much greater concentration of leadership, conflict settlement and integrative capacities. Warren Bennis (1999) is correct in his approach, explaining that managing people is like herding cats. A good manager should persuade, influence and direct an employee to achieve a common purpose, while building mutual respect. Numerous management theories support the effective approach presented by Warren Bennis and supplement it by explaining employees’ needs, requirements, and desires of equity and self-efficacy.

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