Gods Of Management

Gods of Management The author, in the Gods of Management, attempts to classify four distinct management cultures that exist within all organizations. The author further uses the ancient Greek gods to symbolize these management cultures or philosophies. There are four types of management cultures or philosophies present within all organizations. The four cultures are the club (Zeus), role (Apollo), task (Athena), and existential (Dionysus) cultures. The first culture the author discusses is the club or Zeus culture. The author uses a spider web to represent the club culture. “[T]he lines radiating out from the center” represent “divisions of work based on functions or products” (Handy p. 14). The most important lines however “are the encircling [lines], the ones that surround the spider in the middle, for these are the lines of power and influence, losing importance as they go farther from the center. The relationship with the spider matters more in this culture than does any formal title or position description” (Handy p.14). The author also maintains that this type of culture is excellent for “speed of decisions” (Handy p. 15). However, the author also informs the reader that because of it’s speed, quality is dependent upon Zeus and his inner circle. This results in an emphasis being placed upon the selection and succession of Zeus. The club culture achieves its speed through empathy. This in turn leads to very little documentation within the organization and face to face meetings between Zeus and his subordinates or contacts. Furthermore, this culture is dependent upon networks of “friendships, old boys, and comrades” (Hardy p.16). Because of the high level of trust, the author asserts that this type of organization is cheap to operate. The only costs incurred in this type of organization are those of phone and travel expenses. In essence, these types of organizations value the individual, give him or her free rein, and reward their efforts. The second type of culture that the author discusses is the role or Apollo culture. This type of culture bases its approach on the definition of the role or the job to be done. The symbol the author uses to represent this type of culture is a Greek temple. The pillars of the temple represent the functions and divisions in an organization. “The pillars are joined managerially only at the top, the pediment, where the heads of the functions and divisions join together to form the board, management committee, or president’s office” (Handy p. 44). Besides being joined at the pediment, the pillars are also connected through rules and procedures. This type of organization looks to the past in order to predict the future based on the premise that tomorrow will be like yesterday. This then allows the organization to examine and pull apart yesterday in order to formulate improved rules and procedures. “Stability and predictability are assumed and encouraged” (Handy p. 45). The role or set of duties are fixed in the Apollo culture. Furthermore, in this type of organization, efficiency is determined upon meeting deadlines and standard objectives. Exceeding the objectives or beating the deadlines does not lead to reward but rather a reevaluation the institutions goals and objectives. This in turn results in very little initiative among the employees. According to the author, some typical examples of the role or Apollo culture are “life insurance companies, civil service, state industries, and local government” (Handy p.47). Furthermore, apollonian cultures abhor change. Generally an apollonian response to a change in the environment would be to first ignore it and then usually do more of what they were already doing. “Role cultures respond to drastic changes in the environment (changing consumer preferences, new technologies,, new funding sources) by setting up a lot of cross-functional liaison groups to hold the structure together. If these measures don’t work, the management will fall, or the whole temple will collapse in merger, bankruptcy, or a consultants’ reorganization” (Handy p. 48). The next type of organization is the task or Athena culture. This type of organization basically views management “as being basically concerned with the continuous and successful solution of problems” (Handy p. 70). The management accomplishes this by first locating or finding the problem. After locating the problem, appropriate resources are given to solve