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Compare and contrast the role of management, as reflected by management theory, in the 20thcentury organization with the role of management in the 21st century



This week, students learn about organizational theory and the relationship to the role of 21st century manager.  A manager is a person whose job it is to direct the implementation and achievement of a subset of organizational goals.  Organizational theory is a field of study that has evolved in the last one hundred years to offer assistance to managers in the way they approach their job in an effort to accomplish the organization’s vision and mission and goals and objectives.  

The 21st century manager is a person who organizes, executes, and plans the process and production or services of an organization.   Traditionally, the role of the manager, as defined by organizational theory, has been the person who sets short term goals for the organization to execute and perform tasks that include the process, procedure, and production of the organization’s purpose or vision. The modern role of the manager still includes these tasks but has evolved to include the role of facilitator in the way the manager accomplishes the organizational goals assigned to his or her control.

· Compare and contrast the role of management, as reflected by management theory, in the 20thcentury organization with the role of management in the 21st century.  Include in your discussion the theoretical Schools of Thought that speak to the manager’s role in the business environment as well as definition of the environment itself.

· With these ideas in mind, consider the two Biotech managers mentioned below and the Schools of Thought and theorists they represent…  Explain how the Schools of Thought and the theorists reflect the changes in role and business environment shift.


James West is the Department Head of Production for Biotech Germany.  He has been with the company since 1974 when he came aboard at age 18 as a line worker.  He has fashioned the department from his personal experience.  He stresses numbers, quality control and meeting goals.  He is proud of his success in meeting goals efficiently and with minimal cost to the company thereby maximizing profit.  He is known as a strict taskmaster but not unreasonable.  

Artemus Gordon, West’s assistant, is 29 years old and has been with Biotech for 4 years.  Gordon has been concerned that West is not willing to move with the times.  He sees the other production departments around the globe meeting goals efficiently but with lower employee turnover.  These companies use new technology.  

Germany now has a strict work law that requires that employees must be let go by 5 pm, and overtime is only permissible if the employee agrees.  West makes employees work overtime to meet departmental goals and seldom asks the workers about his or her interest in overtime.  Gordon also knows that new technology might make the work more efficient.







Learning Activity #2 – Theme 2

As we saw in theme 1, the role of the manager has changed from the 20th century to the 21st century, with the manager becoming more people-centric in the execution of tasks. 

Look again at Artemus Gordon’s conflict with West.  If Gordon could get West to change his way of management what five unique skills would he suggest to the successful manager of the 21st century.

Consider in your answer workplace dynamics of new organizations such as the change in organizational structure (flat, horizontal, virtual etc.) and employee expectations for the workplace environment.

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