Do we still need managers?

Back in 1973, Peter Drucker, in his book Management described what managers do as: setting objectives, organising, motivating and communicating, measurement and developing people.  These activities are distinct and not to be confused with the many other activities that managers have to carry out in the varied disciplines that make up organisations.  So, let’s imagine an organisation in 2015 with no management.

No one person sets objectives for the organisation

Arguably, no one person does set objectives for the organisation.  Objectives are often set by teams.  What if no objectives are set?  Would it matter?  Who would take responsibility?  People would need to come together based on common interests e.g. providing health care and so on.

No one organises

It is down to each and every staff member to organise themselves and how his or her work relates to the work of others.

No one motivates and communicates

Self motivation becomes the order of the day.  Communication is through personal networks and social media.

No one measures

It is down to individuals to measure what is necessary in their area.  Responsibilities are agreed by consensus in discussion with colleagues.

No one develops staff 

Everyone is responsible for managing their own development and training.

What would need to be true for such a managerless organisation to be effective?  Everyone would need to great negotiators so as to carve out a niche for themselves.  Everyone would need to have a great sense of driving purpose.  Everyone would have to be prepared to shoulder more responsibility for themselves.  Everyone would need to behave reasonably.  New forms of control would need to be invented.

Would a managerless organisation just result in chaos?  Would highly complex tasks go undone e.g. aircraft manufacture?  Would jobs as we currently know them disappear?  Would we all become freelance operators?  Who would create these organisations or networks and would the mere activity of organising such a world not constitute “management”.

How would your organisation cope if there were no managers?  How would you?

 

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