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Why do managers do what they do

Later studies have echoed these limitations and

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Later studies have echoed these limitations and omissions. Any attempt to identify commonalities in managerial work more or less ended with Mintzberg (1973) and those replicating his study (Kurke and Aldridge, 1983; Ley, 1980). Descriptive studies (Luthans and Lockwood, 1984; Luthans, Hodgetts and Rosenkrantz, 1988; Pheysey, 1972; Smith, 1980) have continued, as have those simply demonstrating correlations between characteristics of managerial work and other variables (Allan, 1981; Kraut et al., 1989; Pavett and Lau, 1983; Stewart, 1979; Tornow and Pinto, 1976; Whiteley, 1985). Admittedly, there has been a widening of the range of examined variables beyond the man- ager's organizational context, to include, on the one hand, the wider national culture (Boisot and Liang, 1992; Child and Keiser, 1981; Doktor, 1990; Inkson, 1981; Lawrence, 1984; Luthans, Welsh and Rosenkrantz, 1993; Stewart et al., 1994) and on the other, individual choice (Kotter and Lawrence, 1984; Stewart et al., 1980). Moreover, a number of studies have offered denser descrip- tion by examining the link between managerial work and a range of variables (e.g. Child and Ellis, 1973; Stewart, 1976; Stewart and Barsoux, 1994). However, although the result has been a steady accretion of evidence, there has not been con- comitant theoretical development; commonalities in managerial work continue to be treated as self- evident, whilst differences are examined largely in terms of correlation with other variables. Some studies have disappointed by laying claim to offering an explanation of their findings, but failing to deliver. For example, Mintzberg's (1973) ten 'managerial roles' do not - as he claims - answer the question why managerial behaviour is as he describes it, but merely categorize that behaviour. Equally, his later attempt to trace the substantive connections between managerial work and forms of organization (Mintzberg, 1979) is not fully or consistently developed. Martinkd and Gardner (1984), ironically, encapsulate in a single study the dissonance between theory and evidence in the field generally, by offering a model liriking managerial behaviour to the external and organ- izational environment and individual factors^ but failing to apply the model to their own research findings - a lacuna which they later recognize (Martinko and Gardner, 1985). Luthans, Hodgetts and Rosenkrantz (1988) also lay claim to offering an explanation of why 'traditional management', 'communications', 'networking' and 'humari re- source management' are the central categories of managerial work, but inst:ead merely elaborate what these categories subsume. Researchers who have managed to sustain their claim to move from description to explanation have tended to offer rather specific idiographic accounts of the activities of particular managers in terms of their immediate social, organizational or job context, rather than seeking to link these particular accounts to the wider body of evidence on managers generally. One result has been a series
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Later studies have echoed these limitations and omissions...

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