Handbook of Research on Managing Managers

Handbook of Research on Managing Managers

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder

This book explores the changing role of managers in the workplace. In recent years, there has been considerable debate on the future of management, with both pessimistic and optimistic views being put forward. However, in the wake of delayering, downsizing, re-engineering and the pursuit of leanness, the more gloomy perspective has gained currency, especially in the popular managerial literature, and some have pronounced the end of management altogether. Some paint a more optimistic picture of managers and managers’ work with roles being transformed rather than replaced and the new organisational context providing more demanding work but greater autonomy and increased skill development. With contributions from experts in the field, this book is concerned with the way organisations manage their managers and how this continues to evolve with reference to global issues.

Chapter 17: Global comparison of management practices

Renu Agarwal, Chris Bajada, Paul James Brown and Roy Green

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour

Extract

There is a wealth of research that recognises the important role of management capabilities in driving productivity and performance at both the firm and national levels (for manufacturing firms see Sadikoglu and Zehir, 2010; Hsu et al., 2009; Alexopoulos and Tombe, 2009; Bloom and Van Reenen, 2007; Agarwal et al., 2013, 2014b). The strategic management literature highlights that management capabilities are ‘higher-order capabilities that help a firm extend, modify, or improve its ordinary or operational capabilities that are relevant to managing any given task’ (Kale and Singh, 2007, p. 995). According to Eisenhardt and Martin (2000, p. 1107), management capabilities involve the execution of management practices that are a collation of ‘processes that use resources – specifically the processes to integrate, reconfigure, gain and release resources to match and even create market change’. Increasingly, several studies, including Black and Lynch (2001, 2004), suggest that skills and education have a crucial role in workplace organisation and managerial leadership affecting productivity at the firm level (see also Agarwal and Green, 2011; Bloom and Van Reenen, 2006). Despite this, Alexopoulos and Tombe (2009) argue that governments have traditionally focused on policies that support what they characterise as the tangible technologies, and that intangible technologies (such as innovation in management practices) have largely been ignored. They point out that the policies associated with the two technologies (tangible and intangible) are distinct and affect the types of policies governments may want to put in place.

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