Hard Work and Efficient Management = Success? LO28430

From: Alan Cotterell (acotrel@cnl.com.au)
Date: 05/07/02

Replying to LO28419 --


I think I first raised the spectre of workers self-managing, and there has
been a little indication that some don't feel happy with the concept.

As a manager it is reasonable to expect that your workers will exhibit
some self-motivation, accountability and responsibility for their actions.
In truth they are not robots, and in their private lives many demonstrate
they are capable of leading and managing clubs, societies etc.

In your position as management representative to a work group, you need to
understand three basic tenets which have been stated many times in court:

The employer has the right to direct workers in the manner of performing

The worker must not 'go off on a frolic of his/her own'.

Both employer and worker have a 'duty of care'.

These three 'rules' apply whatever paradigm exists in the organisation.
(If there is Employee Share Ownership in the company, who is the

When we change the paradigm to one in which employees self-manage, is the
manager abdicating?

The issue which concerns most middle managers seems to be 'democracy and
control in the workplace'. I suggest that providing a management manual
for guiding workers can provide a much higher level of control, however it
removes any double standard when policies are documented this way. If a
manager has a problem, he can rewrite the guidelines, however he may have
to involve the CEO when he does this.

The democracy issue involves replacing a representative democratic system
(unions) with a participative democratic system.

I think the result of this approach is an alignment of objectives and
perceptions of risk, without forcing the issue. I believe it can only
improve productivity and stability within the system.

Remember when and if a crisis occurs the manager can still become
authoritarian/directive, and if lives are at risk, probably should.

I would ask one more question however. If we bring more order to the
system, have we increased or decreased entropy?

Best Regards, Alan Cotterell


"Alan Cotterell" <acotrel@cnl.com.au>

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