Management refers to a style of business management
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What are some of the things managers can learn by walking around and having daily contact with line employees that they might not be able to learn from looking at data and reports?
Answer- The management by wandering around (MBWA), also management by walking around, refers to a style of business management which involves managers wandering around, in an unstructured manner, through the workplace(s), at random, to check with employees, equipment, or on the status of ongoing work. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, who used this management style at HP to learn more about the challenges and opportunities their employees were encountering, exemplified the practice.
While managers are usually desk-bound working on various plans for the company, they are often far removed from the day-to-day work that most employees perform. Top managers often fail to understand the ways most employees do their jobs every day. They might learn about the productivity of the employee’s looking at their work and their work efficiency. But, managers cannot learn all things about their employees. Some of them are:
They cannot learn about the difficulties and problems that the employees may face,
The effort of labor to finish a work can also be unknown to the managers
The managers can make more improvements and put forward ideas to make the work of the employees easier and help increase the productivity of the organization as a whole
Reduces the gap between employees and managers
Helps figure out whether the decisions are practical or not
Managers can know the problems of the lower level encounter
All of this can be made possible by walking around and having daily contact with line employees or in simple words, management by walking around.
As an employee, would you appreciate knowing your supervisor regularly spent time with workers? How would knowing top executives routinely interact with line employees affect your attitudes toward the organization?
Answer- Employees are the lifeblood of an organization, without the lower level employees working on their particular jobs the organization cannot function.
As an employee, I would appreciate knowing that my supervisors regularly spend time with workers but on the other hand I would be somewhat discouraged as well.
If managers talk to me regularly, I would feel appreciated. I would feel like I was needed in the organization and the people who work there know me. I would feel like the work I have been doing has brought some attention and I should do it very carefully so as to meet the expectations of my superiors and my colleagues. Daily interactions with the superiors’ means we are being heard and our problems aren’t being overlooked.
I would also be discouraged as I would see managers talking to all employees and I would feel like the managers aren’t doing their jobs and spend their time talking to everyone. I would feel like I do more work than the managers and I would be demotivated to work and I would slack off my work from time to time, which may decrease my efficiency. The interaction with top executives routinely can change my attitude as:
I will be able to put forward my views and ideas
I will have a sense of belongingness towards the organization
I feel like my problems are being heard
I will be encouraged to be a team player rather than working alone
I will be more motivated to do my work and be involved in other organizational activities
Thus, when a superior interacts with the employees, the employees feel needed in the organization and their existence in the organization had made a difference. And that their problems are being heard and will be taken care of. This can help increase the productivity of the employees. So I would appreciate it if a superior talked to me on a regular basis.
What ways can executives and other organizational leaders learn about day-to-day business operations besides going “undercover?”
Answer: Going “undercover” in an organization means the employers or the managers in high posts dress up as a low-level staff and work for a day or two with the low-level staffs. Going undercover every day or on a regular basis cannot be feasible for the employer or the manager, as he/she will have his/her own work to attend to. Some other ways the manager can learn about day-to-day business are:
Hiring a supervisor: The manager can hire a supervisor who can not only oversee the course of the employees but can also talk to them and hear out their problems and coordinate with the managers in order to find a solution.
Electing or selecting a representative: The managers can help elect or select a representative from among the employees through which they can share their problems and prioritize them so that their work is made easier and convenient.
Having weekly meet-ups: The managers can alternatively put in a weekly gathering of all the employees and hear out their problems accordingly and learn about the efforts they have to put through. This can minimize cost and also know about the problems of the employees as well.
Thus the managers can alternatively use these methods to know about the day-to-day business operations besides going “undercover”.
Are there any dangers in the use of a management by walking around strategy? Could this strategy lead employees to feel they are being spied on? What might actions on the part of managers minimize these concerns?
Answer: Management By Walking Around (MBWA) has its share of advantages and benefits, but along with those positive sides MBWA also has its share of negative points. The managers or superiors usually being away from their desks may raise various questions to those who might not know about the motive and intention of the strategy. Some of the problems that might be raised by MBWA are:
The employees might feel like they are being spied on.
The time managers spend directly observing the workforce is the time they are not doing their core jobs tasks like analysis, coordination, and strategic planning
Management based on subjective impressions gathered by walking around runs counter to a research and data-based approach to making managerial decisions
It is also possible that executives who wonder about will be seen as intruders and overseers
The employees may also slack off thinking the managers do not do their work properly
Yes, the employees might feel like they’re being spied on as the manager is regularly visiting the employees. They might feel invaded and somewhat discouraged as well thinking that their work hasn’t been up to the standard and the manager has come over to raise the standard. The regular visits of the manager to talk to the employees might also decrease productivity as the time where the employees can work they will be talking to the manager instead which may hamper their work.
The managers can minimize these concerns by firstly stating their intentions, i.e. knowing the problems of the employees, before actually starting this practice. The manager can also manage his schedule accordingly i.e. setting the time for his work of formulating plans and strategizing. If his timetable isn’t fixed and roams around in his/her will then there can be a negative impact on the other employees. The manager can also hire a supervisor who can study the problems talk to the employees and communicate such problems to the manager. By using above methods the managers will be able to minimize the concerns relating to MBWA.