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Changing expectations from management hierarchy

Globalization has greatly impacted the mindset of the people as a whole. Besides that rapidly changing demographic profile of the countries accompanied by change in cultural values due to electronic media and greater access to latest information technology has given rise to high degree of competition sensitivity in almost all the manufacturing and service industries. Accordingly a significant change has occurred in organizational approach towards performance evaluation of their managers at all levels due to penetration of outside influence in form of new competitors and shrinking world markets necessitating speedy change in marketing techniques, introduction of new products/services to widen client’s base. As such parameters like one’s possessing high technical skill and ability to manage and getting the things done are no longer suffice to evaluate a manager’s performance. Now one’s capability to sustain company’s competitive edge in all circumstances and widen its customer base in the face of even toughest competition are the most sought after attributes for a successful manager.

In context of Pakistan, process of privatization and restructuring of public sector entities ensued more than three decades ago and still in progress is yet another phenomenon needing redefining managements’ performance evaluation approach. At initial move towards privatization of a public sector entity management professionals are expected to find solutions, which are acceptable to all stakeholders. This involves the task of consensus building or at least accommodating varied interest/views of all stakeholders in general and staff in particular. At the same time management hierarchy of such organizations have to listen to views of politicians and public officials also. Sometimes it becomes difficult for management hierarchy particularly top management to argue that management’s recommendations are more feasible/valid than views of other parties involved in the process. Under such circumstances management should take a far sighted decision. Efforts should be focused on the fact that their recommendations are based on an effective collaborations among all those who wish to contribute their views despite the eventuality that views of all the parties are not compatible with each other.

On completion of the process of privatization/restructuring company is encountered with a total cultural change due to change of management and organization opening up to new competitors. At this stage management need to re-evaluate their business strategies and employees career development paths in the light of present day complexities arising from advancement in technologies and change in business ideologies.

Besides above, management at top and senior levels is now confronted with increasingly difficult task due to ever-expanding scope of corporate sector. In quite a number of developed and developing countries, a shift is visible from a centralized economy to market based economy especially in the spheres of commerce and industry. The countries where state has been exercising control over investment within their own economies and over external capital transactions there now deregulation has taken place and state control has minimized. The control of public sector corporations has now been passed on to private corporations, international investment groups and multi-national companies through privatization. These entities now in private sectors are experiencing total autonomy with which they can access financial and other capital markets. Increasing autonomy in these areas has multiplied risk for managers of the corporations. They are now supposed to make prudent forecast of political and economic events to facilitate proper assessment of investment proposals.

Further, in view of new organizational culture, particularly managers at top echelons of hierarchy, who are capable of influencing and motivating large number of people in the organization, must have specific leadership traits compatible to changed organizational behavior at each point of time. Bernard Bass – an expert on organizational behavior has rightly stated in his book ‘Transformational leadership’ that “now in every organizational set up a person shapes the job as opposed to the old context where job shaped the person and position power was sufficient parameter to evaluate effectiveness of the organizational hierarchy”. Accordingly leaders in industry, now apart from having conventional behavioral and technical attributes, need to develop a strategic organizational model where members of organizational hierarchy are able to make sound and creative decisions with total precision and well in time regarding the long and short term corporate objectives. These decisions mainly relate to:

  • Setting the financial targets for the company.

  • Developing new products and services through continuous research process.

  • Devising strategies not only to retain existing markets but also for enhancing companies’ market share.

  • Making use of latest technologies and creating congenial atmosphere in the organization for sustaining and continuous improvement in operational efficiency of the industry.

  • Developing human resources by taking care of the needs and aspirations relating to career progression and job satisfaction through involvement, participation and commitment.

At junior management level apart from one’s exposure to latest technologies relating to production and marketing etc, one need to develop specific personality traits like interpersonal skill, good relations, sensitivity and empathy to others, ability to negotiate and build a team for effective execution of the assignment given to him/her. A person possessed of high professional acumen, labeled as fast track manger, but devoid of aforesaid personal traits; no doubt traverse the path of junior management level more quickly than a mediocre professional to reach a senior level. But while reaching the threshold of senior hierarchal level, where area of concerned manager’s responsibility multiplies who has to manage large number of people in the organization, and there their insensitivity to others, overly strong self determination, inability to negotiate pushes them out from fast career advancement path.

At senior management level where one need to achieve perfection with regard to leadership qualities, the success depends on one’s ability to create effective team by uniting employees under her/his leadership through communicating organization mission to everyone with clarity. Further, a managers communicating strategy, according to Goleman – a behavioral psychologist must be based on ‘emotional intelligence’, which can be defined as one’s capability of controlling/regulating emotions in a manner that he or she is able to understand not only himself/herself, but also has empathy for others. In particular leaders in the organization need to develop empathy for their entire team. Here empathy implies to one’s ability and desire to develop all members of his/her team.

Empathy is said to be an important ingredient of effective communication. For the success of an organization, higher level of its hierarchy need to develop quality of active listening skills – an important ingredient of emotional intelligence, which helps understanding co-workers and subordinates problems, assess their feelings, thoughts and intentions through interpersonal interactions.

Move towards globalization of markets under WTO since mid nineties also pauses a great challenge for organizational hierarchy of developing countries. Manufacturing and service industry both need to improve their competitiveness not only by improving quality of their products / services through deployment of latest technology, but also introducing new products and services compatible to changing needs all over the globe. This should be the concern not only for organizational hierarchies, but also for national economies of developing countries. Economic managers of developing countries will have to develop strategies and policies leading to sustained economic growth rate without providing subsidies and protecting industries against foreign competition through imposition of tariffs, no longer desirable under WTO regime.

This necessitates providing all infrastructure facilities and also elimination of all excessive regulatory and institutional constraints to create a conducive business environment both for existing and new businesses, which in turn would reduce their production/operating cost, and entire business and service structure would be able to compete at international level without government’s protective measures. For this economic managers at the helm of countries’ establishments need to have required personality traits, particularly emotional intelligence so as to have sensitivity regarding needs of all segments of the population. They must have empathy towards their countrymen’s aspirations as well as national interest.

Recent invasion of COVID 19 has inflicted yet another challenge for management hierarchy of almost all the business entities by disrupting service and manufacturing operations all over the globe thus throttling down or temporarily affecting entire manufacturing, agriculture and service industry rendering millions of people jobless. The mounting pressure of pandemic will definitely force hierarchy of business entities of all kinds particularly in economically rich countries to temporally pursue strategies such as cutting down manufacturing volume, off shoring and outsourcing etc and following a emphatic HRD policy to avoid layoff of work force. Introducing proper social safety nets will be another social responsibility of the business organizations.

However in developing countries due to their zealously adapting advanced IT technology there is vast scope for digitization of all spheres of socioeconomic life of these countries to lessen the devastated effects of corona virus on population of these countries.

Pakistani youth comprising almost 64% of the total population has potential to promote digitalization in all sectors of the economy thus creating employment and self-employment opportunities. In this regard government should come forward to remove all hiccups of related infrastructure. Stay at home restriction for workers and students and making it essential for them to work on line to meet their educational and work needs have to some extent offset slowing down socio economic life of the country. As such to revive the economy and attain sustained economic growth path all public and private sector entities must holistically embrace the change to digitalization of their operations.

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