Thursday, December 28, 2006

Management Fads -- A Quiz for Business Fashionistas

I received an MBA from the University of Minnesota more than 20 years ago. It never did much for me career wise, since I was more of a science guy than a business guy as it turns out. Still, I did learn how to make presentations and whip out decision matrices when the need arose. I also learned about business buzzwords and management approaches de jour.

When I went to B-school, people were talking about one-minute managing, searching for excellence, and change-mastering. I never really got too enthused about those ideas, they just seemed kind of , well , simplistic or phoney or both.

So what's the point of this? Well, I still write the occasional business article when the opportunity is right. Several months ago, I included this quiz with an article. How many of these "high powered" management approaches do people remember?

Come and Gone
Here’s a decade-by-decade list of some of the most popular management theories of the last 50 years. Some came and went quickly; others stuck around. Can you match the theory with its description?

1950s and 1960s
1.Theory X
2.Theory Y
3. Management by Objectives
5. Matrix Management

1970s and 1980s
6. Zero-based budgeting
7.Theory Z
8. Quality Circles
9. In Search of Excellence

1990s and 2000s
10. Reengineering
11. Balanced Scorecard

A. A management style in which management and employees make formal agreements about accomplishing specific objectives at the start of each year.
B. Managers believe that people have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. Employees must be coerced and threatened in order to achieve organizational objectives.
C. An organizational design in which project team members report to both a functional manager and a project manager.
D. Managers believe that work is as natural for people as play and rest. Therefore, employees will motivate themselves.
E. A training tool that uses feedback and role-play to help employees gain personal insights and, in so doing, change their attitudes and behaviors.
F. A management technique in which all expenditures have to be justified in complete detail by each division manager at the start of each fiscal year.
G. A style of management in which managers try to emulate the patterns found in large, well-known companies. Typical emulation patterns include having a “bias toward action,” “sticking close to their knitting,” and using “simultaneous loose tight properties.”
H. Volunteer groups of workers meet to discuss workplace improvement, followed by presentations to management with their ideas.
I. Instead of focusing on functional specialties, such as engineering and marketing, executives manage by looking strictly at business processes.
J. A business’s organization chart is redrawn, and with layers of management between top executives and the front or operational lines drastically reduced.
K. Organizations should be managed by considering four key areas simultaneously: learning and growth, business processes, customers, and financial performance.
L. Companies provide a job for life. In so doing they reap the rewards of very loyal and hardworking employees.

1-B, 2-D, 3-A, 4-E, 5-C, 6-F, 7-L, 8-H, 9-G, 10-I, 11-K, 12-J

1 comment:

Jerome Alexander said...

When will they learn that all management fads have a limited life! There are no "silver bullets" and no substitutes for good smart work. Worse yet is when some consultant tries to evangelize the workforce into believing in some "new religion" replete with its own rituals, icons, and Bibles. It's all intended to convince the masses that their attitudes about pay cuts, grueling schedules and idiot managers are wrongminded. God forbid (the real one)that anyone ever gets on the wrong side of one of these "prophets" by having an original thought or questioning the doctrine. Remember the Spanish inquisition? What an insult to the intelligence of employees and good managers.
Successful organizations innovate. They are honest with their workforce and respect divergent opinions. They do not need to use goofy gimmicks and play games with employees' psyches.
In fact, there is really only one thing that all successful organizations have in common - they are successful.