People-oriented management through use of sophisticated IT

The fast development of technology in all business fields, and the information technology (IT) in particular, has augmented the sophistication in customer needs, hence the survival of business as well as the life time coveted business leadership is under threat.

Information technology has made Inroads in all processes and activities of an organisation. Intensive and extensive use of IT in all processes and functions of an organisation whether commercial or non commercial has necessitated change in communication channels, decision making functions and mechanism control etc.

Therefore organisation structure has started getting flattened and taking horizontal shape. Middle management function which supports decision making done by senior management has gained more importance as middle level management is able to obtain more accurate information much faster than what was being done before the use of advanced IT technology.

Now for ensuring success, organisations’ emphasis on striving for economies of scale is shifting to an innovative player in a highly competitive market through innovation and continuous improvement in existing products and services to match the fast changing demands of the market.As such leader in industry, apart from having the conventional behavioural and technical attributes need to develop strategic organisation model where management hierarchy are able to make sound and creative decisions with total precision through use of latest IT technology, which are compatible to both long and short term corporate objectives particularly relating to financial targets setting, developing new products and services, tapping the characteristics of markets and most importantly developing Human Resources with emphasis on taking care of the needs and aspirations relating to career progression and job satisfaction through involvement, participation and commitment

The business environment all over the globe being outcome of information technology have necessitated the development of Human Resources embracing fast growing technologies, which may facilitate achieving targeted goals. In other words the shift towards people oriented approach to management is gaining momentum.

People oriented management symbolises the hierarchy pattern where employees down the line find themselves a more freedom in shaping and controlling their activities and become more enthusiastic and creative, which is essential for well being of an organisation. As far as senior management or leader of the industry is concerned his/her personal and professional attributes need to be of motivator, innovator and people oriented leader. The leader having consistency of ideas should be prepared for encouraging innovative and viable input from staff down the line and modify the organisations’ working strategy accordingly.

Presently business leaders in Pakistan depict mostly entrepreneurial or the asset building management approach in the private sector, and a bureaucratic style of management in the public sector corporations. A peculiar type of top management synonymous with the “strong natural leader”(SNL) type, which had its origin in America and in visible in some European countries too and has its traces in private sector corporations of Pakistan also, most of which are culminating into big business groups. Under SNL management style the leaders visionary, action oriented, energetic, but at the same time they are egoistic and totally intolerant of the incompetence of their subordinates.

In all types of above said management styles,title concern is shown towards the people of the organisations. There are very few multinationals where the top management concern for development and growth builds their image as the “people oriented entities”. Though some private sector corporations are showing excellent growth in assets, but their neglect towards developing the human capital embracing skills of making use of new technologies to be used for the organisation will impede sustainable growth of these entities in times to come.

In a people-oriented organisation, which works on the concept of team management, its leader is earnestly concerned for the employees of all levels and at the same time he/she has maximum concern for the growth of the industry. In other words incumbent depicts a 9.9 style of management( introduced through the managerial grid developed by J.S Mouton and Dr Blake – the behavioural scientists). He/she generates all learning opportunities for people in the industry through their involvement, commitment and creativity, which are the pre- requisites for rapid growth of an organisation. Accordingly, in the people- oriented entities a pool of competence is developed to ensure the leader succession.

Besides that team leader need to achieve superior cost performance ratio also. It is obvious that desired results cannot be achieved unless the culture of team management or ‘working together’ is injected into the industry to prepare the people to meet the challenges of globalisation.

In the context of financial sector in Pakistan due to influx of advanced IT technology hierarchical set up is need to be modified and placed in line with economically developed countries. The banks need to have management hierarchy with an all out concern for developing the Human Resources who in course of time are found totally committed to the organisation. The private banks particularly exhibit the entrepreneurial style of management, to fast growth in their assets and profits. In view of total transfer to electronic banking in near future They need to develop their field staff in this particular area of technology and treat them as an important ingredient of management hierarchy. It is the operating staff or junior management, which has the required expertise in the information technology. They are first to be aware of the change in customers taste and what is demanded of them with regard to the service, both within and outside the country. Hence the junior management and field staff need to be involved in decision making process and with regard to the new services/ products to be introduced.

The top management of these banks must promote continuous change in the organisational practices in order to motivate and prepare the employees of all levels to meet the challenges of the growing competition both nationally and internationally and to achieve that there is need to do away with various unwanted levels of hierarchy and reorient the management practices.

In economically rich countries and emerging markets and in case of Pakistan also multinationals and some foreign banks have reduced their hierarchical levels and delegated the decision making powers down the line to make their entities customer focused and have geared their systems and operations to meet the customer needs, for opening new markets and integrating latest technology in their businesses.

Carlson, a behavioural scientist, has gone to the extremes regarding his views on management hierarchy of service industry in particular. He is in favour of reversing the hierarchical pyramid. He desires the operating staff to be placed at the top, entrusted with the decision making powers relating to research and planning for developing new products/ services, as they are in direct touch with the customers and the first to know the changing demands of the market.

According to him the area of responsibility of the top and senior management should be restricted to creating enabling environment for implementing the decisions.

During the eighties and nineties of last century, blessings of the Japanese style of management were widely talked about, which ensured lifetime employment and total regard to seniority in the matter of deciding incentives for people in the industry, but of late, the fast move towards globalisation and the unprecedented advancement in IT technology have brought about changes in their management approach towards human resource management and many organisations have resorted to the lay offs in large number to combat recession in their economies. However by and large Japanese believe in people-oriented style of management with a blend of paternalism.

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