Why do managers do what they do

Responsibility has both a structural and individual

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Responsibility has both a structural and individual dimension. It is structural in the sense that managers are given responsibility for an area of work activity in ways which reflect pre-existing patterned regularities of behaviour and relation- ships which may be overtly expressed in others' expectations, rules and procedures, organization charts and the like, or merely 'understood'. How- ever, responsibility is also a matter of individual agency in that managers take responsibility for an area of work activity in ways which reflect pursuit of their own purposes and projects. Following Giddens (1984), the relationship between responsibility as structural, and respon- sibility as a feature of agency should be conceived not as one of mutual exclusion in which the man- ager's subjective interpretations and intentions stand opposed to fixed external constraints but, rather, as a dialectical one: the structural charact- eristics of the systems in which managers are located on the one hand, constrain and enable and on the other hand, are produced/reproduced by managers' practices. These structural characteristics
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Why do Managers Do What They Do? 343 take the form of resources, cognitive rules and moral rules on which managers draw, and which serve to both constrain and enable what they do and which are reproduced and reaffirmed by what they do. The link between managers' practices and the structural properties - in the form of rules and resources - of the systems in which these practices are located is through what Giddens (1984) calls 'modalities': facilities, interpretive schemes and norms. The argument here, therefore, is that certain generic facilities, inter- pretive schemes and norms both impinge upon and are available to all work roles defined as having managerial responsibility. Facilities in the form of structured distributions of resources constrain and enable what managers do in that, being required to operate within and being able to draw upon those resources, certain practices become possible and necessary in dis- charging managerial responsibility. In attempting to accomplish these things, managers, by their actions, reproduce, or reconstitute, these distribu- tions of resources, which then both constrain and enable future managerial practices. Interpretive schemes in the form of cognitive rules constrain and enable what managers do in that, being required to operate within and draw upon those rules, certain practices become meaningful as 'managing'. In attempting to act in meaningful 'managerial' ways, mana!gers reaffirm or alter these cognitive rules, or shared meanings, which then both constrain and enable future managerial practices. Finally, norms; in the form of moral rules constrain and enable what managers do in that, by operating within and drawing upon these rules, certain practices are deemed legitimate as 'managing'. In attempting to act in legitimate 'managerial' ways, managers reaffirm or redefine these moral rules, which then both constrain and enable future managerial practices. For example, managers have budgets which are both
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