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Whilst these basic models have had a big impact in shaping the way we think about management, there has in the last decade been a major shift away from some of the central foundations of traditional manage­ment thinking. Intense global competition and new technologies are providing complex new challenges to those who seek to build and sustain leadership positions. The entrance of China, India and Russia into the global economy is resulting in seismic shifts in the business world. Organizations are having to address fresh challenges with new perspec­tives and principles of organization thinking:

  •  Fast responses: how do we reduce the time delay between iden­tifying and satisfying customer needs?
  • Continuous innovation: what does it take to ensure that we continue to bring new ideas, products and services to market faster and more cost effectively than our competitors?
  • Customer satisfaction: what does it take to get close to our customers and to deliver satisfaction at the right cost?

These challenges are forcing organizations to radically rethink the role of management. Faced with the need to do more and more with less and less resources means the traditional perspective of management as a controlling and directing function has been under attack. Many of the world’s leading organizations now want their people to be self- directed. Words such as empowerment require people to be trusted to get on with their jobs without reference to continuous supervision or management. These new perspectives have major implications for tradi­tional managerial roles. The basis of this new order is that it is no longer viable for organiza­tions to have lots of management roles and layers checking and controlling what other people do. If your organization is facing immense challenge from high quality and low cost global competitors and you have a business model that is based on lots of managers performing limited ‘value added’ roles then you are going to lose the war for global success. Your costs will be too high, you’ll be slow to market and you’ll demoti­vate talented people. Ultimately your organization will not survive!

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