Concepts in Management:
a 21st Century Manager
Institute of Management
a 21st Century Manager
In today’s more
volatile, uncertain and ambiguous business battlefield, decentralization of control
and leadership through networks of people at different levels is imperative for
success. In some of the most successful start-ups and even large organizations
that have emerged over a period of time, there is greater levels of delegation
and decision making at all levels. Leaders and managers focus on guiding and
communicating the vision leading large client projects and finding new ways to
develop and train their staffs. Managers in today’s context are taking more and
more responsibilities and passing on increasing amounts of responsibility to
junior employees.(Gleeson, n.d.)
the 20th century was about achieving a finite goal i.e. delivering
goods and services to make money.The first reason why traditional management
theories are irrelevant in the current rapidly changing business environment is
that they tend to focus on internal structures, process and roles of the
organization instead of the quality of the product (Enkvist, Nauclér&
Oppenheim 2008). But the management in 21st century is about the
infinite goal of delighting customers. As the world changes so does the
workplace. Managers of the 21st century operate in environments
which is dynamic and must regularly update their skills to meet the challenges
of a dynamic global market and a more diverse workforce.
organization’s environment has micro and macro environments. The organization
also has its own structure and culture. This environment and culture can be the
generator of forces for change. Needs from within the organization can
stimulate change; these are internal forces for change. Today’s organizations
are characterized by frequent disruptions to its environment. New strategy, new
technology and change in employee mix or attitudes are all internal factors
that can create force for change.
organization’s culture can be a prevailing force for innovation or seriously
threaten the innovative endeavor. The environment and that we create through
change and trying to encourage change is one that can stimulate innovation.
Organizations need to have flexible structures, good communication, and culture
that are relaxed and supportive of new ideas.
Crucial to the implementation of cultural change is management’s ability
to use leadership skills and provide a shared vision of the future. In a
chaotic, dynamic world of change managers must be able to come up with new
ideas and inventions in order to compete in the global market. Those who are
good innovators are the ones who can gain competitive advantages.
change. Managers must be intuitive and read the current and changing situation
surrounding them and make the best decision to coordinate work and apply
resources (Graham, 1997, p174). When change is implemented correctly it can
unleash employee creativity and potential, reduce bureaucracy and costs, and
provide ongoing improvement for an organization.
centuries people were trying to choose between profit and moral. Perhaps, some
of them obtain both, but every time it could have roused ethical issues.
Setting the ethical standards for the way of doing business in corporation is a
primary task of management. Corporations have to maintain the same standards as
an individual person and as organizational units. They should have their own
social responsibilities toward customers, employees and society. However, any
business should keep its original purpose of functioning – making profit.
Balancing the traditional standards of profitability and burden of social
responsibilities is not an easy task. In recent years it has been a trend of
setting standards of corporate ethics according to high degree of morale.
What a manager
does and how it is done can be categorized by Henri Fayol’s four functions of
management: Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. Through these
functions, managers can be catalysts for change. What a manager can change in
the company falls majorly into the three categories stated in the definition of
change: people, structure, and technology. The manager can make changes in
these areas in order to adapt to or facilitate change. The change of people
involves changing attitudes, expectations, perceptions and behavior. These
changes are used to help people i.e. employees within organizations to work
together in groups more effectively. Changing structure is related to job
design, job specialization, hierarchy, formalization and all other
organizational structural variables. These changes are ones that need to be
flexible to be adaptable to change. Technological change includes modification
of work methods and the introduction of new equipment. Changes in this area has
led to enormous innovations in areas of communications, production and
operations within an organization.
The major challenges include:
of globalization: It has led to strategic challenges of mixed cultures and
languages in the business environment. Many companies especially in the
industrialized and emerging countries, make a big portion of their total
revenue and profits through foreign sales.
across borders: The ability of an organization to survive and succeed in the 21stcentury
transactional workforce and borderless business environment serves as a major
of information technology: It refers to a new world infrastructure of data
communications and telecommunications i.e. use of internet, wireless,
e-commerce as a part of management tools and easing of technology transfer.
issues: Issues of security within wide usage of internet platform in business
transactions.Security and privacy in a highly dynamic business is a major
problem for managers. The invention of the internet together with cheap data
storage, wireless abilities and host of other technologies have influenced
economic growth and innovation. However, the use of these technologies
potentially comes with various risks.
for knowledge worker: Increasingdemand for knowledge-worker in the knowledge
driven organizations is a challenge.
range of stakeholder’s interests: Today companies need to address a broader
range of stakeholder interests than in the past. Government, activists and the
media have become adept at holding companies to account for the social
consequences of their activities. This had led to emergence of corporate social
responsibility as a key priority for business leaders around the world,
affecting diverse areas such as the management of supply chains, corporate
governance and intercultural leadership.
mobility: Organizations in a broad cross section of markets like financial
services, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, consumer products, education and
manufacturing are seeing the value of mobilizing enterprise information and
making it available to customers, employees and partner. This process is
complex, expensive and time consuming and requires resources for ongoing updates
and leadership challenges: Globalization, the war for talent, digital
communications, societal changes, the changing shape of organizations and the
aspirations of the next generation are all challenging the 21st
century leaders in new ways. It is no longer enough to motivate followers
through heroic gestures and charisma alone. 21st century visionary
leaders focus on growing deep organizational engagement amongst their followers
and employees and on generating a shared and common understanding of a dynamic
and evolving vision for the future.
management: The changes of the workforce required to shift from traditional
personnel management to human resource management. Human resources have started
to be seen as an inimitable and most valuable factor for organizations to gain
competitive advantage. The role of human resource for the 21st
century isstrategically reactive in business strategy implementation through
supporting the long term strategies with the necessary employee qualifications
and developing the cultural and technical capabilities required for the
strategies of the organization.
function has undergone considerable changes during the last century. Within the
21st century, firms are continuously engaged in boundary-busting
adaptation processes, learning processes and creating the required knowledge
and skills to achieve a competitive edge in the turbulent environment of the
economy.The tools managers use for the strategic planning and forecasting have
changed considerably in the past few decades. But they are inadequate when
faced with today’s fast changing environment. The business environment is
dynamic as well as uncertain. Uncertainty is an entrepreneur’s everyday
business. They face uncertainty in the overall environment-the macroeconomic,
political, social, technological and environmental framework in which they
operate. Underestimating the uncertainty can be hazardous. At worst, it leads
to strategies that are unable to protect the company against threats. At best,
it leads to strategies that ignore the potential opportunities inherent in
For example, back
in 1876, the financial services company western union believed that the
telephone would never replace the telegraph. An internal memo from that year
stated that “the telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered
as a means of communication.” Today the number of cellphone subscriptions alone
is about sex billion and more.
every 21st century manager needs include:
understanding in cultural change: Some companies deal with foreign delegates
and they also provide sales provision in foreign countries. And to handle such
external activities smoothly, a manager needs to understand the levels of
cultural differences in different countries.
and technological understanding: In today’s modern and digitized world of
business, obtaining technological knowledge can add an advantage in the list of
skills of a manager.
skills: When a corporate problem occurs in a company, it is necessary for the
manager to analyze that issue and come with a feasible solution for the
barriers: Every manager should have an idea about cultural diversity. They all
should have a global mind set. The managers should adapt their work according
to cultures so as to make their company successful.
of online networks: Through social networking sites a manager is able to
connect with his colleagues and the employees. Moreover, networking sites
provide information for such managers so that they can plan and make the
company more strong and gain a competitive edge.
a healthy relationship with employees: A manager should be able to maintain
healthy relationships with their employees and the staff, so that they can
understand them and work with them. A caring and an attentive manager is
necessary for any company or organization to grow, and it will also motivate
the employees to work harder to their full potential. This will increase the company’s
output and productivity.
should present a win-win situation for both the stakeholders and the
employees:One of the main role of manager is his ability to handle the domain
between the high level stakeholders and the working employees. In failure to
handle these both parties, there can be a loss in the company profits and also
a high employee and labor turnover. A manager is a person to whom the employees
should be able to discuss and submit their welfare issues to, while the role of
managers in an organization is to present these problems to the supervisors and
the higher-ups so that they can form an effective solution. Hence, he should be
able to successfully handle and balance both the parties.
executivesemphasize on the need for a clear, shared vision, a strong
organizational culture:ways of doing business that leverage the size and reach
of the company. It ensures the alignment of the corporation’s vision and its
widely dispersed activities. Hierarchical, highly centralized, command and
control models no longer work for most global organizations.
the world of management has changed dramatically and dynamically over the past
decade. Companies have become more global and employee groups have become more
diverse than before. Organizational structures are less hierarchal and more
collaborative. Also today’s networked offices are full of technological
distractions that would have been unimaginable to the 20th century
It is obvious
the ability to stimulate change, excellent planning capabilities, and ethics
are important traits a manger should possess and utilize in leading
organizations in the 21st Century. These traits help the manager focus on
success for their organization, as well as there are traits subordinates look
for in their leader. By using these traits, a manager can place him/herself on
a path that can lead to success.The managers in the 21st century
organization need to learn how to navigate through the complex and uncertain
environment of today’s highly competitive global economy. In order to achieve
the objectives they must take their employees along with them by motivating and
empowering them with the skills and knowledge to perform their duties and move
the organization forward.
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