- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1st Edition edition (Aug. 15 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1576753409
- ISBN-13: 978-1576753408
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.6 x 23.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 590 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #335,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Managing Hardcover – Aug 15 2009
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One of the most original minds in management.
Henry Mintzberg's views are a breath of fresh air which can only encourage the good guys.
Over the years I have asked many groups of managers what happened the day they became managers. First I get puzzled looks and then shrugs. Nothing, they report. You are supposed to figure it out like sex, I suppose, usually with the same dire initial consequences. And from there, while we can find plenty of effective managers if we can figure out what that means we see a great deal of dysfunctional and often bizarre managerial behavior too. The costs are immense.
The definitive title on management from legendary and best-selling author Henry Mintzberg. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Here's a passage in the first chapter that caught my eye: "It has been fashionable to distinguish leaders from managers...Frankly, I don't understand what this distinction means in the everyday life of organizations. Sure, we can separate leading and managing conceptually. But can we separate them in practice? Or, more to the point, should we even try?" My own opinion is that in the healthiest organizations (whatever their size and nature may be), everyone at all levels and in all areas of operation lead or manage, depending on what is needed in the given situation. Consider this mosaic of Mintzberg's own thoughts about various key issues:
"I believe we are now overled and undermanaged...In other words, leadership cannot simply delegate management; instead of distinguishing managers from leaders, we should be seeing managers [begin italics] as [end italics] leaders, and leadership as management practiced well...The more we obsess about leadership, the less of it we seem to get...Accordingly, this book puts managing ahead, seeing it together with leadership as naturally embedded in what can be called [begin italics] communityship [end italics]...It is to recognize that managing is neither a science nor a profession; it is a practice, learned primarily through experience, and rooted in context...Put together a good deal of craft with the right touch of art alongside some use if science, and you end up with a job that is above all a [begin italics] practice [end italics]...The manager, by the definition used here, is someone responsible for the whole organization or some identifiable part of it. [Moreover] the manager has to help bring out the best in other people, so that [begin italics] they [end italics] can know better, decide better, and act better. [Therefore] let's recognize management as a [begin italics] calling [end italics], and so appreciate that efforts to professionalize it, and turn it into a science, undermine that calling."
The material that Mintzberg provides this narrative is best viewed as his contribution to a deeper understanding and wider application of the core principles of what he views as the practice of effective management. Here are several of the areas that he rigorously examines:
The material that Mintzberg provides his narrative is best viewed as his contribution to a deeper understanding and wider application of the core principles of what he views as the practice of effective management. Here are several of the areas that he rigorously examines...and illuminates:
o "Toward a General Model of Managing" (Pages 47-50)
o "Strategic Planning as Framing? Deeming? Scheduling?" (63)
o "Some Myths of the Conductor as Leader" (71)
o Table 3.1 "ROLES OF MANAGING" (91)
o Table 3.2 "COMPETENCIES OF MANAGING" (92)
o "Form of Organization" (106-108)
o "The Job Context" (109-115)
o "The Temporal Context" (115-121)
o "Personal Styles of Managing" (121-133)
o "The Dilemma of Delegation" (173-179)
o "The Riddle of Change" (189-191)
o "A Framework for Effectiveness" (206-207)
o "Assessing Managerial Effectiveness" (221-225)
o "Development: From Management to Organization to Society to Self" (230-231)
Readers will especially appreciate, also, the material provided in the Appendix as Mintzberg provides the aforementioned "descriptions" of the day spent with eight of the managers "to anchor the use of this material in the book and to illustrate the rich and varied realities of managing" in a real-world context. "The descriptions of all twenty-nine days, as well as their conceptual interpretations, are available on 3wmintzberg-managingdotcom, which is almost as long as the text of this book itself.
Those who share by high regard for this book are urged to check out other books by Mintzberg, notably The Nature of Managerial Work (1973), Mintzberg on Management: Inside Our Strange World of Organizations (1989), Strategy Safari, co-authored with Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel (1998), Tracking Strategies: Towards a General Theory of Strategy Formation (2007), and Management? It's not What You Think! co-authored with Ahlstrand and Lampel (2009).
The author's beginning point is simple: "We can neither do without managers nor afford to idolize them" (p.148).
His approach outlines a fruitful and novel framework for evaluating and building effective management. Like Drucker, Mintzberg recognizes that general management is a genuinely independent discipline. On the novelty side, he persuasively argues that management is most importantly a PRACTICE which, quite unmetaphorically, has the dimensions of art, craft and science.
In addition to providing a fruitful and practical evaluation framework, this book presents a detailed argument, backed up by useful study cases, designed to show that general management is not reducible neither to a sum of its functional sub-disciplines such as accounting, HR, operations, sales, marketing, project management and technology nor to semi-mystical personal qualities of charisma/leadership beloved by "business gurus" and self-help books industry.
Recommended read for managers, board members and aspiring managers.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is only about 300 pages and of that there is about 240 pages of content and then an appendix that summarizes the observations that Mintzberg had made while observing managers. The 240 pages are divided in 6 chapters. The first chapter is very short and is more or less an introduction chapter to the rest of the book. The second chapter is also short-ish which explores some characteristics and folklore about management.
In the third chapter, Mintzberg proposes his model of management, of multiple planes both inwards and outwards focused. It is an interesting yet somewhat theoretical model. Most of chapter three explains his model, using stories from his observation of managers to clarify and show what he means. This is something that is done throughout the book.
In chapter 4, Mintzberg mentions that management is a very dynamic profession and wonders what factors influence the different way of practicing management. He looks at several factors and uses the observations of managers as a way of analyzing these factors and concludes which factors influence the way management is performed the strongest.
Chapter 5 was probably my personal favorite, which is called "The inescapable conundrums of managing" and he explains what conundrums managers have when practicing their profession. I liked this chapter a lot because it shows that managers often focus too much on one aspect and that causes some organizational dysfunctions. I've seen a lot of the conundrums and effects of those in reality, making this a fascinating chapter.
Chapter 6 tries to come to a conclusion and tried to give some recommendations about how to be an effective manager. The first part is interesting where it looks for interests (threads), but the second part focuses a lot on promoting the management education from Mintzberg himself. I was a bit annoyed by this and think it actually made the book worst.
All in all, it is an interesting book. Some parts were really good (Mintzbergs model of management and the conundrums) and some parts weren't very good (the last chapter). All in all, I did feel the book was quite traditional on management and organizations which bothered me personally a bit. Also, I was conceptually a bit bothered by the approach taken. When we take 29 managers and observe them and extract the theory of management from this practice, then shouldn't we first conclude these were actually good managers? What if they were horrible managers in practice, then the theory of what management is is influence by rather bad examples. Also, instead of looking at what management is, I'm more interested in what it can be. But, I guess that Mintzberg was tired of books about what management can be (most other books, I guess) and chose to just focus on what it actually is. It is the strength of the book... and its weakness.
All in all, when interested in management theory, this is a decent to good book. I would rate it between 3 and 4 stars and decided to go with 3 as I felt there was a bit too much promotion of his management education program. Pretty good.
I now teach management at a university, and I draw quite a lot from Mintzberg's findings and wisdom. It's easy to get lost in the leadership fray, as now so many consider themselves experts in the field due to recent mild success. Mintzberg famously says that, "We should be seeing managers as leaders, and leadership as management practiced well."
As leadership fills book stores with anecdotes and platitudes, "Managing" will continue to laud those in the trenches that are actually managing continuity while change takes center stage, plying the craft while heroics and art take the limelight, and holding two opposed ideas in their minds at the same time while others search for the singular secret.
I can see how there might be value to a reader who, suffering from the frenetic lifestyle described in the book, seeks a frame of reference to reflect on their circumstances, draw some comfort that they are not alone, and then ultimately embark on their own introspection about how to be better managers. I was hoping for an outcome that was perhaps more assertive in its conclusions. I found what was there to be too obvious ("All too often, when managers don't know what to do, they drive their subordinates to 'perform'") or to be characterized as, "you just have to know" ("Over time managing has to function in a dynamic balance"; "management may not be a science, but it does need some of the order of science, whihle being rooted in the practicality of craft, with some of the zest of art").
It may have some value to a reader as a starting point, but I personally did not come away with a sense of completion. I felt like I was prepared well for a message that never materialized.
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