What Is Disrupting Management?

by Jay Deragon on 08/28/2012

“Over the coming decades, these forces will mostly destroy management as we know it.”  Gary Hamel

Management is in a chaotic state of mind. Demands surround them, markets shift at the click of a mouse, customers expect more, competitors are giving more and employees need more.  Managing in the 21st century is about giving more but the management models of the past were designed to control rather than give more.

In most organizations 96% of the problems are caused by management’s design of their “system”.  The organization’s “systems” represent the flow of work, information, data, interactions and knowledge.  If the few (management) are controlling  the flow of work, information, data, interactions and knowledge then by default the few are relied on to solve 96% of the problems.  Since the attributes of markets in the 21st century are about constant chaotic change it is impossible to expect that the old “management system’s” and the related thinking could solve the majority of today’s problems. If no one is solving repetitive problems then the problems get worse.

The System of Management Needs Changing

Jamie Notter writes: We were born to create and learn and collaborate and solve problems. That’s why social media has been so popular. We can’t help but be attracted to something that lets us be more human. It’s a deeply powerful force.

This is precisely the force that our current management regime has a difficult time accessing, and I think I have figured out why. Social media is succeeding beyond anyone’s imagination by tapping into what makes us human, and our organizations, on the other hand, are struggling because we run them like machines.

Management was invented in the industrial era, and it’s infused with machine thinking. We treat organizational systems like they are simple and linear, where power and control goes to the center, and the periphery’s actions simply follow the design of the cogs and gears. We design our organizations in the abstract, expecting them to work the same in any context, just like we do for machines. We build them for efficiency, consistency, predictability, and control. And while this has helped us with global productivity over the last century, its success has also become the seeds of its current failure because it has generated big problems that never seem to go away: engagement and agility. via What Social Media Means for Leadership | Reply-MC.

The tides of change are swelling as the waves of engagement infects every government, market, institution and organization.  The infection isn’t curable rather it is a permanent malady for management systems of the past.

When the tides change and the waves swell unless you change your “position” you will likely wake up under water.


enem chiamaka April 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

The question is “What is disrupting management”? the only answer to such query is insufficient iniciative thereby handing it over to the lackadasical ones, this same point is applicable everywhere including UNN. For more details, visit http://unn.edu.ng

Simon Kenyon Shepard August 29, 2012 at 5:45 am

I came to the same conclusion from reading the works of Dee Hock and Peter Senge’s theory on learning organisations.
Everything you know about organisations is probably wrong.

Rob Harvey August 28, 2012 at 5:49 am

Engagement and agility are today’s currency, no doubt. Great post, Jay.

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