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The Nature of Management, Managers and Their Work

In this chapter, I have built on the ideas of a number of highly respected academic thinkers on management, including Henry Mintzberg, John Kotter, Gareth Morgan and Karl Weick, to develop a new framework for thinking about management roles.  This framework integrates the personal qualities that managers bring to their jobs -  including their experiences, values and capacity for wisdom - the contexts in which managers operate, the levels at which they work and their preferences for different styles of management.  It can be used as a tool to develop other managers and to develop yourself.

The chapter also tackles the increasingly important belief that management and leadership are distinct but related phenomenon, though I'm a little sceptical of some of the more messianic claims of the leadership 'industry', which often seeks to sell the idea of heroic visionaries who stand apart from 'mere managers'.  You can find a publication I did with Keith Grint from Warwick for the ESRC and Scottish Government on leadership theory and public sector management.  These short pieces set out many of the main criticisms of leader-centric research and its impact.

We have a further look at leadership in the next chapter, highlighting its dark as well as light side.  For now, you should have a look at some of the programmes and video material on management and leadership.  One that is especially worth watching is the MIT programme featuring an interview with Henry Mintzberg, probably one of the most incisive thinkers about management, conducted by a practising managers and thinker, Ricardo Semler.  You might also want to access Henry Mintzberg's website to read some of his papers and articles.

Listen to the Gurus

Listen to Handy's discussion of the work of Warren Bennis, one of the leading academic gurus on leadership

Then watch an MIT video featuring Henry Mintzberg being interviewed by Ricardo Semler.  What are the differences between Bennis and Mintzberg's perspectives on leadership?

Following the global financial crisis, we have had a major questioning of leadership because of its culpability in the demise of major financial services companies.  This has led to the call by Hamel for a management 2.0 (see my blog) and for a new leadership.  Here's a Harvard video on 'What's Wrong with Leadership' featuring Barbara Kellerman and Warren Bennis (problems at the beginning of the clip).

Listen to Key Issues

What can we learn about management and leadership from sport, one of the favourite metaphors used in management?

Watch a video on ethics and leadership featuring Cisco's CEO

Additional Reading

Mintzberg's 2004 book on Managers not MBA: a hard look at the soft practices of managing and management development is certainly worth reading

Read the AIM report on Leadership and Innovation for a good summary and analysis of a contemporary problem

Customising the Material for the Public Sector

For public sector managers, one of the best resources for research in this field is , a US organization dedicated to improving public sector management

A top-notch UK site is Lancaster University's Centre for Excellence in Leadership, which has a number of articles and courses for public sector managers and leaders

Also enrol for, which is a comprehensive site on management in the public sector


Look at Henry Mintzberg's site, which has a number of interesting papers and resources.

The UK Management standards are an excellent source of a competency framework for managers