In his book, „The Future of Management“, Mr. Gary Hamel says: “…When you’re up against a belief that seems set in concrete, it may be helpful to ask, whose interests does this belief serve?” (page 138). It is actually very universal truth, which Mr. Hamel applied to managerial dogmas which we are dealing with in overwhelming majority of organizations. Those dogmas first and foremost have to do with a fact that managers are there to watch, supervise, monitor, judge, motivate, punish (and rarely reward) workers to make them do what the organization wants them to do. In the opinion of Mr. Hamel, workers are capable of doing all those things themselves to themselves. Or differently said, we can have now empowered organizations with less managers and more peer pressure to perform, where organization in question is based on functional teams whose members control each other. The result is less managers, flat structures, better communication, quicker reaction and… less cost to the organization itself. If you don’t know what this is all about, it is about money. Another sentence which is usually true.
Is the new managerial fad a real breakthrough or is it just another way to exploit workers? Secondly, can we really in all organizations have flat structures, where teams decide what and when needs to be done? I know that army cannot function like that, because unit on the front line has no idea what the whole army does, therefore their independent actions could damage the whole plan. Taking the size of the army as an important factor (since small Special Forces unit do work independently and successfully fulfill their tasks) I also think that the empowerment works only up to a certain organization size, namely that of a group which still has social factors intact. Or easier said it works where people still know each other and talk freely to each other. I think that this is also a somewhat hidden message of Mr. Hamel’s book – I am still reading it, so I am not yet sure. But I think that regardless of the empowerment or managers as forces behind performance of workers, the size of organization does make a huge difference in quality of work performed and on quality of internal communications. Maybe here lies the problem, not in the managerial layers.