We’re betting that you already have a lot of experience with organizations, teams, and leadership. You’ve been through schools, in clubs, participated in social or religious groups, competed in sports or games, or taken on full- or part-time jobs. Some of your experience was probably pretty positive, but you were also likely wondering sometimes, “Isn’t there a better way to do this?”
We hope that you find the answer to be “Yes!” While management is both art and science, with our help you can identify and develop the skills essential to better managing your and others’ behaviors where organizations are concerned.
Before getting ahead of ourselves, just what is management, let alone principles of management? A manager’s primary challenge is to solve problems creatively, and you should view management as “the art of getting things done through the efforts of other people.”We draw this definition from a biography of Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933) written by P. Graham, Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1995). Follett was an American social worker, consultant, and author of books on democracy, human relations, and management. She worked as a management and political theorist, introducing such phrases as “conflict resolution,” “authority and power,” and “the task of leadership.” The principles of management, then, are the means by which you actually manage, that is, get things done through others—individually, in groups, or in organizations. Formally defined, the principles of management are the activities that “plan, organize, and control the operations of the basic elements of [people], materials, machines, methods, money and markets, providing direction and coordination, and giving leadership to human efforts, so as to achieve the sought objectives of the enterprise.”The fundamental notion of principles of management was developed by French management theorist Henri Fayol (1841–1925). He is credited with the original planning-organizing-leading-controlling framework (P-O-L-C), which, while undergoing very important changes in content, remains the dominant management framework in the world. See H. Fayol, General and Industrial Management (Paris: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, 1916). For this reason, principles of management are often discussed or learned using a framework called P-O-L-C, which stands for planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
Managers are required in all the activities of organizations: budgeting, designing, selling, creating, financing, accounting, and artistic presentation; the larger the organization, the more managers are needed. Everyone employed in an organization is affected by management principles, processes, policies, and practices as they are either a manager or a subordinate to a manager, and usually they are both.
Managers do not spend all their time managing. When choreographers are dancing a part, they are not managing, nor are office managers managing when they personally check out a customer’s credit. Some employees perform only part of the functions described as managerial—and to that extent, they are mostly managers in limited areas. For example, those who are assigned the preparation of plans in an advisory capacity to a manager, to that extent, are making management decisions by deciding which of several alternatives to present to the management. However, they have no participation in the functions of organizing, staffing, and supervising and no control over the implementation of the plan selected from those recommended. Even independent consultants are managers, since they get most things done through others—those others just happen to be their clients! Of course, if advisers or consultants have their own staff of subordinates, they become a manager in the fullest sense of the definition. They must develop business plans; hire, train, organize, and motivate their staff members; establish internal policies that will facilitate the work and direct it; and represent the group and its work to those outside of the firm.
1. Who Are Managers?
We tend to think about managers based on their position in an organization. This tells us a bit about their role and the nature of their responsibilities. The following figure summarizes the historic and contemporary views of organizations with respect to managerial roles.S. Ghoshal and C. Bartlett, The Individualized Corporation: A Fundamentally New Approach to Management (New York: Collins Business, 1999). In contrast to the traditional, hierarchical relationship among layers of management and managers and employees, in the contemporary view, top managers support and serve other managers and employees (through a process called empowerment), just as the organization ultimately exists to serve its customers and clients. Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways.
In both the traditional and contemporary views of management, however, there remains the need for different types of managers. Top managers are responsible for developing the organization’s strategy and being a steward for its vision and mission. A second set of managers includes functional, team, and general managers. Functional managers are responsible for the efficiency and effectiveness of an area, such as accounting or marketing. Supervisory or team managers are responsible for coordinating a subgroup of a particular function or a team composed of members from different parts of the organization. Sometimes you will hear distinctions made between line and staff managers.
A line manager leads a function that contributes directly to the products or services the organization creates. For example, a line manager (often called a product, or service manager) at Procter & Gamble (P&G) is responsible for the production, marketing, and profitability of the Tide detergent product line. A staff manager, in contrast, leads a function that creates indirect inputs. For example, finance and accounting are critical organizational functions but do not typically provide an input into the final product or service a customer buys, such as a box of Tide detergent. Instead, they serve a supporting role. A project manager has the responsibility for the planning, execution, and closing of any project. Project managers are often found in construction, architecture, consulting, computer networking, telecommunications, or software development.
A general manager is someone who is responsible for managing a clearly identifiable revenue-producing unit, such as a store, business unit, or product line. General managers typically must make decisions across different functions and have rewards tied to the performance of the entire unit (i.e., store, business unit, product line, etc.). General managers take direction from their top executives. They must first understand the executives’ overall plan for the company. Then they set specific goals for their own departments to fit in with the plan. The general manager of production, for example, might have to increase certain product lines and phase out others. General managers must describe their goals clearly to their support staff. The supervisory managers see that the goals are met.
Figure 1.4 The Changing Roles of Management and Managers
The Nature of Managerial Work
Managers are responsible for the processes of getting activities completed efficiently with and through other people and setting and achieving the firm’s goals through the execution of four basic management functions: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Both sets of processes utilize human, financial, and material resources.
Of course, some managers are better than others at accomplishing this! There have been a number of studies on what managers actually do, the most famous of those conducted by Professor Henry Mintzberg in the early 1970s.H. Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work (New York: Harper & Row, 1973). One explanation for Mintzberg’s enduring influence is perhaps that the nature of managerial work has changed very little since that time, aside from the shift to an empowered relationship between top managers and other managers and employees, and obvious changes in technology, and the exponential increase in information overload.
After following managers around for several weeks, Mintzberg concluded that, to meet the many demands of performing their functions, managers assume multiple roles. A role is an organized set of behaviors, and Mintzberg identified 10 roles common to the work of all managers. As summarized in the following figure, the 10 roles are divided into three groups: interpersonal, informational, and decisional. The informational roles link all managerial work together. The interpersonal roles ensure that information is provided. The decisional roles make significant use of the information. The performance of managerial roles and the requirements of these roles can be played at different times by the same manager and to different degrees, depending on the level and function of management. The 10 roles are described individually, but they form an integrated whole.
The three interpersonal roles are primarily concerned with interpersonal relationships. In the figurehead role, the manager represents the organization in all matters of formality. The top-level manager represents the company legally and socially to those outside of the organization. The supervisor represents the work group to higher management and higher management to the work group. In the liaison role, the manager interacts with peers and people outside the organization. The top-level manager uses the liaison role to gain favors and information, while the supervisor uses it to maintain the routine flow of work. The leader role defines the relationships between the manager and employees.
Figure 1.5 Ten Managerial Roles
The direct relationships with people in the interpersonal roles place the manager in a unique position to get information. Thus, the three informational roles are primarily concerned with the information aspects of managerial work. In the monitor role, the manager receives and collects information. In the role of disseminator, the manager transmits special information into the organization. The top-level manager receives and transmits more information from people outside the organization than the supervisor. In the role of spokesperson, the manager disseminates the organization’s information into its environment. Thus, the top-level manager is seen as an industry expert, while the supervisor is seen as a unit or departmental expert.
The unique access to information places the manager at the center of organizational decision making. There are four decisional roles managers play. In the entrepreneur role, the manager initiates change. In the disturbance handler role, the manager deals with threats to the organization. In the resource allocator role, the manager chooses where the organization will expend its efforts. In the negotiator role, the manager negotiates on behalf of the organization. The top-level manager makes the decisions about the organization as a whole, while the supervisor makes decisions about his or her particular work unit.
The supervisor performs these managerial roles but with different emphasis than higher managers. Supervisory management is more focused and short-term in outlook. Thus, the figurehead role becomes less significant and the disturbance handler and negotiator roles increase in importance for the supervisor. Since leadership permeates all activities, the leader role is among the most important of all roles at all levels of management.
So what do Mintzberg’s conclusions about the nature of managerial work mean for you? On the one hand, managerial work is the lifeblood of most organizations because it serves to choreograph and motivate individuals to do amazing things. Managerial work is exciting, and it is hard to imagine that there will ever be a shortage of demand for capable, energetic managers. On the other hand, managerial work is necessarily fast-paced and fragmented, where managers at all levels express the opinion that they must process much more information and make more decisions than they could have ever possibly imagined. So, just as the most successful organizations seem to have well-formed and well-executed strategies, there is also a strong need for managers to have good strategies about the way they will approach their work. This is exactly what you will learn through principles of management.
2. Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Strategy
The principles of management are drawn from a number of academic fields, principally, the fields of leadership, entrepreneurship, and strategy.
If management is defined as getting things done through others, then leadership should be defined as the social and informal sources of influence that you use to inspire action taken by others. It means mobilizing others to want to struggle toward a common goal. Great leaders help build an organization’s human capital, then motivate individuals to take concerted action. Leadership also includes an understanding of when, where, and how to use more formal sources of authority and power, such as position or ownership. Increasingly, we live in a world where good management requires good leaders and leadership. While these views about the importance of leadership are not new (see “Views on Managers Versus Leaders”), competition among employers and countries for the best and brightest, increased labor mobility (think “war for talent” here), and hypercompetition puts pressure on firms to invest in present and future leadership capabilities.
P&G provides a very current example of this shift in emphasis to leadership as a key principle of management. For example, P&G recruits and promotes those individuals who demonstrate success through influence rather than direct or coercive authority. Internally, there has been a change from managers being outspoken and needing to direct their staff, to being individuals who electrify and inspire those around them. Good leaders and leadership at P&G used to imply having followers, whereas in today’s society, good leadership means followership and bringing out the best in your peers. This is one of the key reasons that P&G has been consistently ranked among the top 10 most admired companies in the United States for the last three years, according to Fortune magazine.
Whereas P&G has been around for some 170 years, another winning firm in terms of leadership is Google, which has only been around for little more than a decade. Both firms emphasize leadership in terms of being exceptional at developing people. Google has topped Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for the past two years. Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. Google’s culture is probably unlike any in corporate America, and it’s not because of the ubiquitous lava lamps throughout the company’s headquarters or that the company’s chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to online service, Google espouses that it puts employees first when it comes to daily life in all of its offices. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to the company’s overall success. Ideas are traded, tested, and put into practice with a swiftness that can be dizzying. Observers and employees note that meetings that would take hours elsewhere are frequently little more than a conversation in line for lunch and few walls separate those who write the code from those who write the checks. This highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fueled by the realization that millions of people rely on Google results. Leadership at Google amounts to a deep belief that if you give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, they will.
It’s fitting that this section on entrepreneurship follows the discussion of Google. Entrepreneurship is defined as the recognition of opportunities (needs, wants, problems, and challenges) and the use or creation of resources to implement innovative ideas for new, thoughtfully planned ventures. Perhaps this is obvious, but an entrepreneur is a person who engages in the process of entrepreneurship. We describe entrepreneurship as a process because it often involves more than simply coming up with a good idea—someone also has to convert that idea into action. As an example of both, Google’s leaders suggest that its point of distinction “is anticipating needs not yet articulated by our global audience, then meeting them with products and services that set new standards. This constant dissatisfaction with the way things are is ultimately the driving force behind the world’s best search engine.”
Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship are the catalysts for value creation. They identify and create new markets, as well as foster change in existing ones. However, such value creation first requires an opportunity. Indeed, the opportunity-driven nature of entrepreneurship is critical. Opportunities are typically characterized as problems in search of solutions, and the best opportunities are big problems in search of big solutions. “The greater the inconsistencies in existing service and quality, in lead times and in lag times, the greater the vacuums and gaps in information and knowledge, the greater the opportunities.” J. Timmons, The Entrepreneurial Process (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999), 39. In other words, bigger problems will often mean there will be a bigger market for the product or service that the entrepreneur creates. We hope you can see why the problem-solving, opportunity-seeking nature of entrepreneurship is a fundamental building block for effective principles of management.
When an organization has a long-term purpose, articulated in clear goals and objectives, and these goals and objectives can be rolled up into a coherent plan of action, then we would say that the organization has a strategy. It has a good or even great strategy when this plan also takes advantage of unique resources and capabilities to exploit a big and growing external opportunity. Strategy then, is the central, integrated, externally-oriented concept of how an organization will achieve its objectives.
Strategic management is important to all organizations because, when correctly formulated and communicated, strategy provides leaders and employees with a clear set of guidelines for their daily actions. This is why strategy is so critical to the principles of management you are learning about. Simply put, strategy is about making choices: What do I do today? What shouldn’t I be doing? What should my organization be doing? What should it stop doing?
Synchronizing Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Strategy
You know that leadership, entrepreneurship, and strategy are the inspiration for important, valuable, and useful principles of management. Now you will want to understand how they might relate to one another. In terms of principles of management, you can think of leadership, entrepreneurship, and strategic management as answering questions about “who,” “what,” and “how.” Leadership helps you understand who helps lead the organization forward and what the critical characteristics of good leadership might be. Entrepreneurial firms and entrepreneurs in general are fanatical about identifying opportunities and solving problems—for any organization, entrepreneurship answers big questions about “what” an organization’s purpose might be. Finally, strategic management aims to make sure that the right choices are made—specifically, that a good strategy is in place—to exploit those big opportunities.
One way to see how leadership, entrepreneurship, and strategy come together for an organization—and for you—is through a recent (disguised) job posting from Craigslist. Look at the ideal candidate characteristics identified in the Help Wanted ad—you don’t have to look very closely to see that if you happen to be a recent business undergrad, then the organization depicted in the ad is looking for you. The posting identifies a number of areas of functional expertise for the target candidate. You can imagine that this new position is pretty critical for the success of the business. For that reason, we hope you are not surprised to see that, beyond functional expertise, this business seeks someone with leadership, entrepreneurial, and strategic orientation and skills. Now you have a better idea of what those key principles of management involve.
3. Planning, Organizing, Leading, and Controlling
A manager’s primary challenge is to solve problems creatively. While drawing from a variety of academic disciplines, and to help managers respond to the challenge of creative problem solving, principles of management have long been categorized into the four major functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (the P-O-L-C framework). The four functions, summarized in the P-O-L-C figure, are actually highly integrated when carried out in the day-to-day realities of running an organization. Therefore, you should not get caught up in trying to analyze and understand a complete, clear rationale for categorizing skills and practices that compose the whole of the P-O-L-C framework.
It is important to note that this framework is not without criticism. Specifically, these criticisms stem from the observation that the P-O-L-C functions might be ideal but that they do not accurately depict the day-to-day actions of actual managers. The typical day in the life of a manager at any level can be fragmented and hectic, with the constant threat of having priorities dictated by the law of the trivial many and important few (i.e., the 80/20 rule). However, the general conclusion seems to be that the P-O-L-C functions of management still provide a very useful way of classifying the activities managers engage in as they attempt to achieve organizational goals.
Figure 1.7 The P-O-L-C Framework
Planning is the function of management that involves setting objectives and determining a course of action for achieving those objectives. Planning requires that managers be aware of environmental conditions facing their organization and forecast future conditions. It also requires that managers be good decision makers.
Planning is a process consisting of several steps. The process begins with environmental scanning which simply means that planners must be aware of the critical contingencies facing their organization in terms of economic conditions, their competitors, and their customers. Planners must then attempt to forecast future conditions. These forecasts form the basis for planning.
Planners must establish objectives, which are statements of what needs to be achieved and when. Planners must then identify alternative courses of action for achieving objectives. After evaluating the various alternatives, planners must make decisions about the best courses of action for achieving objectives. They must then formulate necessary steps and ensure effective implementation of plans. Finally, planners must constantly evaluate the success of their plans and take corrective action when necessary.
There are many different types of plans and planning.
Strategic planning involves analyzing competitive opportunities and threats, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and then determining how to position the organization to compete effectively in their environment. Strategic planning has a long time frame, often three years or more. Strategic planning generally includes the entire organization and includes formulation of objectives. Strategic planning is often based on the organization’s mission, which is its fundamental reason for existence. An organization’s top management most often conducts strategic planning.
Tactical planning is intermediate-range (one to three years) planning that is designed to develop relatively concrete and specific means to implement the strategic plan. Middle-level managers often engage in tactical planning.
Operational planning generally assumes the existence of organization-wide or subunit goals and objectives and specifies ways to achieve them. Operational planning is short-range (less than a year) planning that is designed to develop specific action steps that support the strategic and tactical plans.
Organizing is the function of management that involves developing an organizational structure and allocating human resources to ensure the accomplishment of objectives. The structure of the organization is the framework within which effort is coordinated. The structure is usually represented by an organization chart, which provides a graphic representation of the chain of command within an organization. Decisions made about the structure of an organization are generally referred to as organizational design decisions.
Organizing also involves the design of individual jobs within the organization. Decisions must be made about the duties and responsibilities of individual jobs, as well as the manner in which the duties should be carried out. Decisions made about the nature of jobs within the organization are generally called “job design” decisions.
Organizing at the level of the organization involves deciding how best to departmentalize, or cluster, jobs into departments to coordinate effort effectively. There are many different ways to departmentalize, including organizing by function, product, geography, or customer. Many larger organizations use multiple methods of departmentalization.
Organizing at the level of a particular job involves how best to design individual jobs to most effectively use human resources. Traditionally, job design was based on principles of division of labor and specialization, which assumed that the more narrow the job content, the more proficient the individual performing the job could become. However, experience has shown that it is possible for jobs to become too narrow and specialized. For example, how would you like to screw lids on jars one day after another, as you might have done many decades ago if you worked in company that made and sold jellies and jams? When this happens, negative outcomes result, including decreased job satisfaction and organizational commitment, increased absenteeism, and turnover.
Recently, many organizations have attempted to strike a balance between the need for worker specialization and the need for workers to have jobs that entail variety and autonomy. Many jobs are now designed based on such principles as empowerment, job enrichment and teamwork. For example, HUI Manufacturing, a custom sheet metal fabricator, has done away with traditional “departments” to focus on listening and responding to customer needs. From company-wide meetings to team huddles, HUI employees know and understand their customers and how HUI might service them best.
Leading involves the social and informal sources of influence that you use to inspire action taken by others. If managers are effective leaders, their subordinates will be enthusiastic about exerting effort to attain organizational objectives.
The behavioral sciences have made many contributions to understanding this function of management. Personality research and studies of job attitudes provide important information as to how managers can most effectively lead subordinates. For example, this research tells us that to become effective at leading, managers must first understand their subordinates’ personalities, values, attitudes, and emotions.
Studies of motivation and motivation theory provide important information about the ways in which workers can be energized to put forth productive effort. Studies of communication provide direction as to how managers can effectively and persuasively communicate. Studies of leadership and leadership style provide information regarding questions, such as, “What makes a manager a good leader?” and “In what situations are certain leadership styles most appropriate and effective?”
Controlling involves ensuring that performance does not deviate from standards. Controlling consists of three steps, which include (1) establishing performance standards, (2) comparing actual performance against standards, and (3) taking corrective action when necessary. Performance standards are often stated in monetary terms such as revenue, costs, or profits but may also be stated in other terms, such as units produced, number of defective products, or levels of quality or customer service.
The measurement of performance can be done in several ways, depending on the performance standards, including financial statements, sales reports, production results, customer satisfaction, and formal performance appraisals. Managers at all levels engage in the managerial function of controlling to some degree.
The managerial function of controlling should not be confused with control in the behavioral or manipulative sense. This function does not imply that managers should attempt to control or to manipulate the personalities, values, attitudes, or emotions of their subordinates. Instead, this function of management concerns the manager’s role in taking necessary actions to ensure that the work-related activities of subordinates are consistent with and contributing toward the accomplishment of organizational and departmental objectives.
Effective controlling requires the existence of plans, since planning provides the necessary performance standards or objectives. Controlling also requires a clear understanding of where responsibility for deviations from standards lies. Two traditional control techniques are budget and performance audits. An audit involves an examination and verification of records and supporting documents. A budget audit provides information about where the organization is with respect to what was planned or budgeted for, whereas a performance audit might try to determine whether the figures reported are a reflection of actual performance. Although controlling is often thought of in terms of financial criteria, managers must also control production and operations processes, procedures for delivery of services, compliance with company policies, and many other activities within the organization.
The management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are widely considered to be the best means of describing the manager’s job, as well as the best way to classify accumulated knowledge about the study of management. Although there have been tremendous changes in the environment faced by managers and the tools used by managers to perform their roles, managers still perform these essential functions.
4. Economic, Social, and Environmental Performance
Webster’s dictionary defines performance as “the execution of an action” and “something accomplished.” Principles of management help you better understand the inputs into critical organizational outcomes like a firm’s economic performance. Economic performance is very important to a firm’s stakeholders particularly its investors or owners, because this performance eventually provides them with a return on their investment. Other stakeholders, like the firm’s employees and the society at large, are also deemed to benefit from such performance, albeit less directly. Increasingly though, it seems clear that noneconomic accomplishments, such as reducing waste and pollution, for example, are key indicators of performance as well. Indeed, this is why the notion of the triple bottom line is gaining so much attention in the business press. Essentially, the triple bottom line refers to The measurement of business performance along social, environmental, and economic dimensions. We introduce you to economic, social, and environmental performance and conclude the section with a brief discussion of the interdependence of economic performance with other forms of performance.
In a traditional sense, the economic performance of a firm is a function of its success in producing benefits for its owners in particular, through product innovation and the efficient use of resources. When you talk about this type of economic performance in a business context, people typically understand you to be speaking about some form of profit.
The definition of economic profit is the difference between revenue and the opportunity cost of all resources used to produce the items sold. This definition includes implicit returns as costs. For our purposes, it may be simplest to think of economic profit as a form of accounting profit where profits are achieved when revenues exceed the accounting cost the firm “pays” for those inputs. In other words, your organization makes a profit when its revenues are more than its costs in a given period of time, such as three months, six months, or a year.
Before moving on to social and environmental performance, it is important to note that customers play a big role in economic profits. Profits accrue to firms because customers are willing to pay a certain price for a product or service, as opposed to a competitor’s product or service of a higher or lower price. If customers are only willing to make purchases based on price, then a firm, at least in the face of competition, will only be able to generate profit if it keeps its costs under control.
Social and Environmental Performance
You have learned a bit about economic performance and its determinants. For most organizations, you saw that economic performance is associated with profits, and profits depend a great deal on how much customers are willing to pay for a good or service.
With regard to social and environmental performance, it is similarly useful to think of them as forms of profit—social and environmental profit to be exact. Increasingly, the topics of social and environmental performance have garnered their own courses in school curricula; in the business world, they are collectively referred to as corporate social responsibility (CSR)
CSR is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities, and the environment in all aspects of their operations. This obligation is seen to extend beyond the statutory obligation to comply with legislation and sees organizations voluntarily taking further steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families, as well as for the local community and society at large.
Two companies that have long blazed a trail in CSR are Ben & Jerry’s and S. C. Johnson. Their statements about why they do this, summarized in Table 1.1 “Examples of leading firms with strong CSR orientations”, capture many of the facets just described.
Table 1.1 Examples of leading firms with strong CSR orientations
|Why We Do It?|
|Ben & Jerry’s|
“We’ve taken time each year since 1989 to compile this [Social Audit] report because we continue to believe that it keeps us in touch with our Company’s stated Social Mission. By raising the profile of social and environmental matters inside the Company and recording the impact of our work on the community, this report aids us in our search for business decisions that support all three parts of our Company Mission Statement: Economic, Product, and Social. In addition, the report is an important source of information about the Company for students, journalists, prospective employees, and other interested observers. In this way, it helps us in our quest to keep our values, our actions, and public perceptions in alignment.”
|S. C. Johnson|
“It’s nice to live next door to a family that cares about its neighbors, and at S. C. Johnson we are committed to being a good neighbor and contributing to the well-being of the countries and the communities where we conduct business. We have a wide variety of efforts to drive global development and growth that benefit the people around us and the planet we all share. From exceptional philanthropy and volunteerism to new business models that bring economic growth to the world’s poorest communities, we’re helping to create stronger communities for families around the globe.”
Integrating Economic, Social, and Environmental Performance
Is there really a way to achieve a triple bottom line in a way that actually builds up all three facets of performance—economic, social, and environmental? Advocates of CSR understandably argue that this is possible and should be the way all firms are evaluated. Increasingly, evidence is mounting that attention to a triple bottom line is more than being “responsible” but instead just good business. Critics argue that CSR detracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window dressing; still, others argue that it is an attempt to preempt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations.
While there is no systematic evidence supporting such a claim, a recent review of nearly 170 research studies on the relationship between CSR and firm performance reported that there appeared to be no negative shareholder effects of such practices. In fact, this report showed that there was a small positive relationship between CSR and shareholder returns.
The financial benefits of social or environmental CSR initiatives vary by context. For example, environment-friendly strategies are much more complicated in the consumer products and services market. For example, cosmetics retailer The Body Shop and StarKist Seafood Company, a strategic business unit of Heinz Food, both undertook environmental strategies but only the former succeeded. The Body Shop goes to great lengths to ensure that its business is ecologically sustainable. It actively campaigns against human rights abuses and for animal and environmental protection and is one of the most respected firms in the world, despite its small size. Consumers pay premium prices for Body Shop products, ostensibly because they believe that it simply costs more to provide goods and services that are environmentally friendly. The Body Shop has been wildly successful.
StarKist, too, adopted a CSR approach, when, in 1990, it decided to purchase and sell exclusively dolphin-safe tuna. At the time, biologists thought that the dolphin population decline was a result of the thousands killed in the course of tuna harvests. However, consumers were unwilling to pay higher prices for StarKist’s environmental product attributes. Moreover, since tuna were bought from commercial fishermen, this particular practice afforded the firm no protection from imitation by competitors. Finally, in terms of credibility, the members of the tuna industry had launched numerous unsuccessful campaigns in the past touting their interest in the environment, particularly the world’s oceans. Thus, consumers did not perceive StarKist’s efforts as sincerely “green.”
You might argue that The Body Shop’s customers are unusually price insensitive, hence the success of its environment-based strategy. However, individuals are willing to pay more for organic produce, so why not dolphin-safe tuna? One difference is that while the environment is a public good, organic produce produces both public and private benefits. For example, organic farming is better for the environment and pesticide-free produce is believed to be better for the health of the consumer. Dolphin-free tuna only has the public environmental benefits (i.e., preserve the dolphin population and oceans’ ecosystems), not the private ones like personal health. It is true that personal satisfaction and benevolence are private benefits, too. However, consumers did not believe they were getting their money’s worth in this regard for StarKist tuna, whereas they do with The Body Shop’s products.
Somewhere in our dialogue on CSR lies the idea of making the solution of an environmental or social problem the primary purpose of the organization. Cascade Asset Management (CAM), is a case in point. CAM was created in April 1999, in Madison, Wisconsin, and traces its beginnings to the University of Wisconsin’s Entrepreneurship program where the owners collaborated on developing and financing the initial business plan. CAM is a private, for-profit enterprise established to provide for the environmentally responsible disposition of computers and other electronics generated by businesses and institutions in Wisconsin. With their experience and relationships in surplus asset disposition and computer hardware maintenance, the founders were able to apply their skills and education to this new and developing industry.
Firms are willing to pay for CAM’s services because the disposal of surplus personal computers (PCs) is recognized as risky and highly regulated, given the many toxic materials embedded in most components. CAM’s story is also credible (whereas StarKist had trouble selling its CSR story). The company was one of the original signers of the “Electronic Recyclers Pledge of True Stewardship.” Signers of the pledge are committed to the highest standards of environmental and economic sustainability in their industry and are expected to live out this commitment through their operations and partnerships. The basic principles of the pledge are as follows: no export of untested whole products or hazardous components or commodities (CRTs, circuit boards) to developing countries, no use of prison labor, adherence to an environmental and worker safety management system, provision of regular testing and audits to ensure compliance, and support efforts to encourage producers to make their products less toxic. CAM has grown rapidly and now serves over 500 business and institutional customers from across the country. While it is recognized as one of the national leaders in responsible, one-stop information technology (IT) asset disposal, its success is attracting new entrants such as IBM, which view PC recycling as another profitable service they can offer their existing client base.
5. Performance of Individuals and Groups
Principles of management are concerned with organization-level outcomes such as economic, social, or environmental performance, innovation, or ability to change and adapt. However, for something to happen at the level of an organization, something must typically also be happening within the organization at the individual or team level. Obviously, if you are an entrepreneur and the only person employed by your company, the organization will accomplish what you do and reap the benefits of what you create. Normally though, organizations have more than one person, which is why we introduce to you concepts of individual and group performance.
Individual-level performance draws upon those things you have to do in your job, or in-role performance, and those things that add value but which aren’t part of your formal job description. These “extras” are called extra-role performance or organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs). At this point, it is probably simplest to consider an in-role performance as having productivity and quality dimensions associated with certain standards that you must meet to do your job. In contrast, OCBs can be understood as individual behaviors that are beneficial to the organization and are discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system. D. W. Organ, Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Good Soldier Syndrome (Lexington, M Lexington Books, 1988).
In comparison to in-role performance, the spectrum of what constitutes extra-role performance, or OCBs, seems be great and growing. In a recent review, for example, management researchers identified 30 potentially different forms of OCB, which they conveniently collapsed into seven common themes: (1) Helping Behavior, (2) Sportsmanship, (3) Organizational Loyalty, (4) Organizational Compliance, (5) Individual Initiative, (6) Civic Virtue, and (7) Self-Development.
Table 1.2 A current survey of organization citizenship behaviors
|Helping Behavior (Taking on the forms of altruism, interpersonal helping, courtesy, peacemaking, and cheerleading.)|
|Sportsmanship||A citizenlike posture of tolerating the inevitable inconveniences and impositions of work without whining and grievances.|
|Organizational Loyalty||Identification with and allegiance to organizational leaders and the organization as a whole, transcending the parochial interests of individuals, work groups, and departments. Representative behaviors include defending the organization against threats, contributing to its good reputation, and cooperating with others to serve the interests of the whole.|
|Organizational Compliance (or Obedience)||An orientation toward organizational structure, job descriptions, and personnel policies that recognizes and accepts the necessity and desirability of a rational structure of rules and regulations. Obedience may be demonstrated by a respect for rules and instructions, punctuality in attendance and task completion, and stewardship of organizational resources.|
|Individual Initiative (or Conscientiousness)||A pattern of going well beyond minimally required levels of attendance, punctuality, housekeeping, conserving resources, and related matters of internal maintenance.|
|Civic Virtue||Responsible, constructive involvement in the political process of the organization, including not just expressing opinions but reading one’s mail, attending meetings, and keeping abreast of larger issues involving the organization.|
|Self-Development||Includes all the steps that workers take to voluntarily improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities so as to be better able to contribute to their organizations. Seeking out and taking advantage of advanced training courses, keeping abreast of the latest developments in one’s field and area, or even learning a new set of skills so as to expand the range of one’s contributions to an organization.|
As you can imagine, principles of management are likely to be very concerned with individuals’ in-role performance. At the same time, just a quick glance through Table 1.2 “A current survey of organization citizenship behaviors” should suggest that those principles should help you better manage OCBs as well.
A group is a collection of individuals. Group-level performance focuses on both the outcomes and process of collections of individuals, or groups. Individuals can work on their own agendas in the context of a group. Groups might consist of project-related groups, such as a product group or an entire store or branch of a company. The performance of a group consists of the inputs of the group minus any process loss that result in the final output, such as the quality of a product and the ramp-up time to production or the sales for a given month. Process loss is any aspect of group interaction that inhibits good problem solving.
Why do we say group instead of team? A collection of people is not a team, though they may learn to function in that way. A team is a cohesive coalition of people working together to achieve the team agenda (i.e., teamwork). Being on a team is not equal to total subordination of personal agendas, but it does require a commitment to the vision and involves each individual directly in accomplishing the team’s objective. Teams differ from other types of groups in that members are focused on a joint goal or product, such as a presentation, completing in-class exercises, discussing a topic, writing a report, or creating a new design or prototype. Moreover, teams also tend to be defined by their relatively smaller size. For example, according to one definition, “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.”J. R. Katzenbach, and D. K. Smith, The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-performance Organization (Boston: Harvard Business School, 1993).
The purpose of assembling a team is to accomplish bigger goals that would not be possible for the individual working alone or the simple sum of many individuals’ independent work. Teamwork is also needed in cases where multiple skills are needed or where buy-in is required from certain key stakeholders. Teams can, but do not always, provide improved performance. Working together to further the team agenda seems to increase mutual cooperation between what are often competing factions. The aim and purpose of a team is to perform, to get results, and to achieve victory in the workplace and marketplace. The very best managers are those who can gather together a group of individuals and mold them into an effective team.
Compatibility of Individual and Group Performance
As a manager, you will need to understand the compatibility of individual and group performance, typically with respect to goals and incentives. What does this mean? Looking at goals first, there should be compatibility between individual and group goals. For example, do the individuals’ goals contribute to the achievement of the group goal or are they contradictory? Incentives also need to be aligned between individuals and groups. A disconnect between these is most likely when individuals are too far insulated from the external environment or rewarded for action that is not consistent with the goal. For example, individuals may be seeking to perfect a certain technology and, in doing so, delay its release to customers, when customers would have been satisfied with the current solution and put a great priority on its timely delivery. Finally, firms need to be careful to match their goals with their reward structures. For example, if the organization’s goal is to increase group performance but the firm’s performance appraisal process rewards individual employee productivity, then the firm is unlikely to create a strong team culture.