AuthorityEver thought about how people are managed around the world? Enter a Japanese office on a busy morning and you would see people dictating orders and many more taking them. The rule of managing people in japan is different from elsewhere.

The Japanese tend to follow a very strict hierarchy and have clear distinction on job profiles for everyone. Every office has a very clear organizational chart and there are strict protocols to follow. For example, to use someone’s help you first need to talk to his/her superior and get their approval.

Things don’t change massively across south Asia – the authority and hierarchy are still a fundamental part of a group – be it official or social. You will notice authoritative tones flying all around the office and orders are given and orders are executed.

This style of managements has high efficiency in getting mundane jobs done, because there is no confusion. People have to listen to their superiors and execute the task. Simple.

But the issue with this style of management is when creativity is required in the workplace. Suppose a problem needs a solution, this authoritative style of “do what i say” management doesn’t always work.

Bearing this in mind and moving to western cultures, we see a distinct change in the way groups are organised. The very strict organisational chart slowly dissolves into thin air. People somehow seem to know what they are supposed to do and they don’t have to be told anymore.

The climate in a western office appears to be more relaxed and i am not sure if i would agree that efficiency is sacrificed for this cause. There is very less interference into others’ time and people just don’t exist as a group.

Looking at these two distinct ways of managing people, and both of them having proven themselves to be successful over the years, one tends to wonder which is the best way.

The western style of management that exists today is a by-product of forward thinking and is practised only for the past few centuries or so. Until before then, every single culture, be it east or west, was ruled authoritatively by a king or a queen with strict hierarchical rules.

But looking at the improvement in quality of life that the western method of managing has brought in for all of us in the world, forces us to think that is perhaps the best way of management to breed creativity, which is the most important ingredient in today’s business.

The question that springs to mind at this point is what good would creativity do for well established jobs like manufacturing? Semco, a company in Brazil, toyed with this idea of letting people do what they wanted to, in their manufacturing plant. There was chaos, as expected. But after a few weeks of not knowing what to do, because there is no one to tell them what to do, people started organising themselves into groups.

The self-formed groups worked towards a common goal and they were self-motivated. They set their work timings and came up with a work target. And Semco today is a very successful enterprise.

Losing authority is not a very comfortable thing. It is something that many leaders hate, because it makes them weak. But if everyone is working towards a common goal then that is the most efficient method to achieve. As much as we want followers, we need creative leaders, who are co-ordinators, to solve problems facing humanity.

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Related posts:

  1. Getting on the management train
  2. Working with various cultures
  3. 10 things that never work at a workplace
  4. What makes a good leader?
  5. Japanese Culture – What can we learn from them?

2 Responses to “Losing authority”

  1. the solution for the question is well balanced. the way of presentation is excellent

  2. Good Observation… on the east and west

© 2012 Exploring uncharted waters Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha