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How do managers manage The studies by Mintzberg and other researchers showed that from street gang leaders to the President of the United States managers do not spend their time planning organizing coordinating and controlling as the French industrialist Henri Fayol said they did in 1916 and as most writers on management have continued to repeat ever since They are not like the orchestra leader who directs the component parts of his organization with ease and precision Instead they spend their time reacting to crises seizing special opportunities attending meetings negotiating talking on the telephone cultivating interpersonal and political relationships gathering and disseminating information and fulfilling a variety of ceremonial functions Mintzberg says I was struck during my study by the fact that the executives I was observing-all very competent by any standard-are fundamentally indistinguishable from their counterparts of a hundred years ago or a thousand years ago for that matter The information they need differs but they seek it in the same way-by word of mouth Their decisions concern modern technology but the procedures they use to make them are the same as the procedures of the 19th Century manager Even the computer so important for the specialized work of the organization has apparently had no influence on the work procedures of general managers In fact the manager is in a kind of loop with increasingly heavy work pressures but no aid forthcoming from management science The Mintzberg view is by no means unique There is a growing number of management scholars who are questioning the conventional view of management and what managers do In a critical review of On Management Harper 1976 a book of articles selected from 25 years of the Harvard Business Review Albert Shapero a management professor at the University of Texas strikes a similar note
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